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Strange things Spanish parents do raising their children

Dinners are a multi-generational affair in Spain. Photo: monkeybusiness/Depositphotos

One of t..



Dinners are a multi-generational affair in Spain. Photo: monkeybusiness/Depositphotos

One of the most obvious cultural clashes experienced when you move to a new country is just how differently parents go about bringing up their children.

We become so used to the traditions we ourselves were brought up in that other people’s parenting techniques can appear exotic, baffling and sometimes just downright bizarre.

Spanish baby girls all have their ears pierced

Little girls all wear earrings in Spain. Photo: brebka/Depositphotos

When I was a girl I had the tortuous wait until I reached the grand old age of twelve before my parents allowed me to pierce my ears. In Spain baby girls are adorned with ear studs before they even leave the hospital.

Those parents who choose not to violate the velvety soft lobes of their newborn daughters will be forever having to correct people on the true gender of their baby. Dressing head to toe pink just won’t be enough

There is no set bedtime for Spanish children

While northern European parents may be preoccupied with establishing a routine of bath, book and bed by 7pm so that they can enjoy some adult time or even call in a babysitter and enjoy a rare night now, such habits are not prevalent in Spanish society.

Children stay awake late into the night, joining their parents in restaurants long past 10pm and tearing round terrazas with other youngsters on warm summer nights while their parents enjoy a drink or dinner with their friends. It is not unusual to find young children curled up in a chair fast asleep in a noisy bar or restaurant.

Spanish children know how to swear like a trooper

Don’t be shocked to hear a Spanish child reel off a string of expletives or casually intersperse dialogue with ‘joder, mama!”

While the equivalent might have earned an English child the threat of “washing your mouth out with soap and water” in Spain it is just a reflection of how prevalent swearing is in everyday language and is not a sign of being badly brought up. And the upside is adults don’t have to modify the way the speak in front of the kids.

Children actually wear ‘Sunday best’ and not just on Sundays

Photo: Amaia Kids Collection

The Spanish take 'Sunday Best' to a whole new level, decking their children out for lunch in a restaurant or a walk in the park in corduroy knickerbockers, sailor suits and pinafores in outfits that wouldn't have looked out of place in Edwardian times. Siblings are often decked out in matching ensembles.

The tendency to overdress means that in winter, children will be wrapped up as if for a day on the ski-slopes even if it is 10C outside and even in the height of summer it’s a rare sight to see a Spanish child running around barefoot in the sand or on the grass.

Spanish children are allowed to play with fireworks

It seems to me that one of the greatest thrills of being a kid in Spain is setting off firecrackers in a town square to make unsuspecting guiris like me jump out of my skin. While in the UK, the dangerous job of setting up the fireworks for the annual Guy Fawkes night firework display fell to a man in protective clothing located far away behind a fence. In Spain the laissez faire attitude to pyrotechnics means it’s not unusual to see a rocket whizzing through the crowds at a summer festival.

Long summer holidays and extended stays with the grandparents

Photo: monkeybusiness/Depositphotos

With the school summer holidays stretching well beyond two months and the predominant situation of two working parents, Spanish children are frequently farmed off to the ‘pueblo’ to be looked after by the grandparents for at least a fortnight over the summer. Many spend several weeks at a summer camp at the start of the holidays before heading out of the cities and if they are lucky, to the seaside, to be spoilt by their grandparents. With great summer weather and free childcare and a chance for the older generation to spend quality time with the youngest it’s a win-win situation for the whole family.

Babies wear perfume

For some baffling reason Spain is obsessed with baby perfume. An American friend living in Madrid who had a baby shower ahead of the birth of her first baby was quite startled to receive not one, not two, but three different brands of bottled baby perfume with which to douse her newborn.

Because what mother wouldn’t want to disguise that sweet freshly bathed newborn baby smell, right?

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Sitges Mayor among others arrested in police investigation of alleged corruption



Aurora Carbonell, the mayor of Sitges and from the ERC party, has been arrested in connection with an alleged corruption investigation, that has also implicated 12 other people, including eight local councillors from the period 2017-2022.

At least four people have been arrested as part of the case, including the local ERC councillor Jaume Monasterio, who was responsible for public works in the last legislature.

The group are being investigated for the crimes of misuse of public funds, embezzlement, and falsification of documents in the awarding of grants and minor contracts in the previous two mandates.

The Spanish National Police and officers of their Economic and Fiscal Crime Unit (UDEF) carried out several searches on Wednesday morning in Sitges, including municipal offices and the homes of two people. The investigation is focused into the process of subsidies granted by the Sitges Town Council to the social entity ‘Taula del Tercer Sector’ (Third Sector Board) and another local co-operative. The police seized documents relating to the entities under investigation.

According to local sources, the police would be investigating, among other elements, if the entity was paid twice for the same service, or received a subsidy and a minor contract, for example.

According to El Pais, police sources have said that the investigation affects the local departments of Beaches and Social Welfare. The police are analysing various specific grants, some of €45,000, €100,000 and €120,000, among others, which may have allegedly gone to the entities under suspicion. According to reports, the total sum under investigation is €600,000.

The starting point of the case stems from a police report detailing the alleged irregularities in May 2022, discovered by the council’s own inspectors.

Carbonell, who was recently re-elected as mayor, has been mayor of Sitges since 2019. The court has ordered for Carbonell and eight councillors to be investigated, in addition to four others who were part of one of the entities and cooperatves also under investigation. The period of alleged corruption is over four years, and also affects the government team prior to Carbonell, according to reports, under the leadership of Miquel Forns (CiU).

The Sitges Town Council has since issued a statement to say that the investigation is connected to ‘external irregularities’ and that it denies any type of wrongdoing.

‘The facts under investigation had already been analysed internally,’ the statement read. ‘The Town Council, once possible external irregularities were detected, commissioned legal professionals to clarify the facts, stopping the subsidies, reviewing the files and starting the process for the return of the subsidies that were not fully justified. The Council has reports that ensure the absence of administrative and even less criminal responsibilities, and which demonstrate the diligence of the Sitges Town Council.’

The statement went on to say that the council ‘is a transparent institution, which has a rigorous code of ethics that ensures the highest standards of integrity’.

It said that it would be making itself ‘available to the authorities in order to show our full collaboration in whatever is necessary’ and ‘reiterates our willingness to cooperate with justice at all times’.


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Spain’s far-right Vox seek to make gains in 28 May local and regional elections



Spain’s third largest political group in the national parliament, the far-right Vox party, is looking to make gains in the local and regional elections due to be held across the country on 28 May.

Since it entered a regional government for the first time in Castilla y León last year, Vox has attacked the unions and pushed polarising positions on social issues, including abortion and transgender rights.

It is now poised to spread its influence beyond the sparsely populated region near Madrid, with the party hoping to make gains in the elections at the end of May.

Surveys suggest the main opposition, the right-wing People’s Party (PP), could need the support of Vox to govern in half of the 12 regions casting ballots, just as it did in Castilla y León last year.

Polls also indicate the PP is on track to win a year-end general election but would need Vox to form a working majority and oust socialist (PSOE) Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez and his coalition government from office.

Vox leader Santiago Abascal [pictured at a recent rally in Chinchón, near Madrid] has called the PP-VOX coalition government in office in Castilla y León since March 2022 a ‘showroom’ and ‘an example of the alternative Spain needs’.

It is Spain’s first government to include a far-right party since the dictatorship of Francisco Franco.

In Castilla y León, Vox has slashed funding to unions, which the party has vowed to ‘put in their place’ if it comes to power nationally. Trade union UGT was forced to lay off 40% of its staff in Castilla y León last month and scale back programmes to promote workspace safety. Spain’s other main union, the CCOO, is reportedly preparing to follow suit.

Vox has also angered LGBTQ groups by refusing to allow the regional parliament to be lit up in the colours of the rainbow, the symbol of the gay rights movement, for Pride festivities as in past years when the PP governed alone.

In addition, the regional vice-president, Vox’s Juan García-Gallardo, has railed against a law passed by Spain’s leftist central government that extends transgender rights.

The 32-year-old lawyer warned earlier this month that women would now be ‘forced to share locker rooms with hairy men at municipal swimming pools’.

Vox’s most contested initiative was a proposal that doctors offer women seeking an abortion a 4D ultrasound scan to try to discourage them from going ahead with the procedure.

The idea was swiftly condemned by Spain’s leftist central government, and Castilla y León’s PP president Alfonso Fernández Mañueco stopped the measure from going ahead.

The issue highlighted the hazards for the PP of joining forces with Vox, which was launched in 2013 and is now the third-largest party in the national parliament.


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Spain – Gas falls below 90 euros per MWh for the first time in almost two months



The price of TTF natural gas for delivery next month has fallen below 90 euros on Friday for the first time in almost two months and closes a week marked by the decision of the European Commission to cap gas with a drop of 29, 36%.
According to data from the Bloomberg platform, gas closed this Friday at 83 euros per megawatt-hour (MWh), 8.9% less than the day before and the first time it has lost 90 euros since last October 31.
After months of negotiations, the EU agreed on Monday to set a cap of 180 euros on contracts linked to the Amsterdam TTF index with a price difference of at least 35 euros above the average price of liquefied natural gas in the markets.

EU countries agree on a cap of 180 euros for gas with the support of Germany
In a report this week, the Swiss investment bank Julius Baer indicated that the chances of the mechanism being activated are low and pointed out that the chosen formula was not very effective in avoiding the multiplier effect that gas has on the price of electricity. However, he reiterated what was said in other previous reports: “Energy supply risks are minimal and prices should continue to decline in the future” due to the availability of raw materials from Asia to offset cuts from Russia.

Gas tends to fall during the hot months due to lower demand, but this summer it has reached historic heights as European countries were buying to face the winter with their tanks full and reduce their dependence on Russia. The price fell in September and October due to lower demand once the warehouses were full due to the high temperatures at the beginning of autumn, but in November it picked up again and 66% more expensive.

This article was originally published on Público

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