Span 100 Essay 1 AMU/APUS

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Spain is a country full of hundreds of exuberant celebrations, holidays, and festivals that happen throughout the year. The unique characteristic of how these people are passionately dedicated to their customs and celebrations is second to none. From small mountain villages to the busy city streets of Madrid, these festivals take place, fueled by religious and cultural origins. The villages and cities have their own festivals in addition to the numerous national holidays, and as one can imagine, there are many "days off" on the Spanish calendar. The beauty of seeing entire towns and cities participate in one same celebration is a symbol of the passion and unity the Spanish have in regards to their festivities.

In contrast, our Great American Melting pot has National Holidays and other celebrations that are carried out, yet we all have our own twist on how or why we celebrate. Some people do not celebrate certain holidays and have personal reasons for or against recognizing and participating in certain National Holidays. Our traditions are no less firm and many of us are very passionate about our celebrations, yet the unity and sameness of how customs are practiced is varied. This parallels with the very first forum we had on Spanish greetings. We discussed how the Spanish greet, and how they all greet this same way. Every time. Again, here in the US, we have greeting customs that vary from a handshake to a pat on the back, with or without eye contact, sometimes non-verbal, sometimes with no touching at all, and other times with a nod and smile.

Greetings and celebrations in the US vs other countries are indicators of how diverse our population is. Americans have varied beliefs, religions, practices and customs. We often celebrate similar holidays but for different reasons and in different ways. The "New World" is certainly a melting pot, and is different from countries like Spain where traditions run deep and are nationally celebrated, customs are very similarly practiced and generally done so with one same common reason and purpose. There is no right or wrong in this contrast, just a difference that points to our unique patchwork that is "American life."

Keeping in theme with the topic of Spain's celebrations, your assignment is to research one celebration in Spain that you have never heard about. Find out the following information:

What is the celebration/festival?

What is the origin and reason for the celebration/festival?

Who participates? Where does it take place??

How is this festival celebrated? (What does it look like to be there among the participants?)

Why did this celebration get your attention and would you like to participate in it?

Think about a celebration or holiday you celebrate here in the US and compare and contrast how and why your celebration is similar and/or different than the celebration you are presenting. Don't just clue into obvious differences, but think about the reasons, meaning, and purpose along with the level of enthusiasm and importance behind the celebration.

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