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Religion: Primary Religions


Introduction: Catholicism is the predominant religion in Spain, with a majority of the population identifying as Catholic. The Catholic Church has a long history in Spain, with many significant religious sites and traditions located throughout the country.

Origin: Catholicism originated in the Middle East more than 2,000 years ago and spread throughout Europe during the Roman Empire. In Spain, Catholicism was introduced in the 1st century AD by the apostle James and became the dominant religion during the medieval period.

History: Catholicism played a significant role in Spanish history, particularly during the Spanish Inquisition in the 15th and 16th centuries, which aimed to maintain Catholic orthodoxy and suppress heresy. The church was also an important political force in Spain during the Franco dictatorship (1939-1975), and it has continued to play a significant role in Spanish society since then.

Adherents: Catholicism is the majority religion in Spain, with approximately 67 percent of the population identifying as Catholic. The Catholic Church in Spain is made up of a diverse range of ethnic groups and social classes, although it has historically been associated with the ruling classes.

Belief System: Catholicism is a Christian religion based on the belief in one God and the divinity of Jesus Christ. The Catholic Church also believes in the Holy Trinity, Virgin Mary, and saints. The church has a strong emphasis on the sacraments, including baptism, communion, and confession, as well as the importance of good works and charity.

Practices: Catholicism has a wide range of public and private practices, including Mass, confession, and prayer. There are also many Catholic pilgrimage sites in Spain, such as the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, which is the endpoint of the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage.

Rituals, Events, and Celebrations:

  • Holy Week (Semana Santa): A week-long celebration before Easter that includes processions, floats, and religious rites in many cities across Spain. It is one of the most important religious events in the country.
  • La Tomatina: A festival held in Buñol, Valencia, where people throw tomatoes at each other. It takes place on the last Wednesday of August and is said to have originated from a food fight between locals.
  • Three Kings' Day (Día de los Reyes Magos): A celebration on January 6th, which commemorates the arrival of the Three Wise Men who brought gifts to baby Jesus. Children receive presents and families eat a special cake called Roscón de Reyes.
  • Pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela: A religious pilgrimage to the city of Santiago de Compostela in northwestern Spain, where the remains of St. James are believed to be buried. The pilgrimage can be completed on foot or by bike and has been popular since the Middle Ages.
  • Fiesta de San Fermin: A festival held in Pamplona, Navarra, in honor of the patron saint San Fermin. The festival is most famous for the running of the bulls, where people run in front of a group of bulls through the streets. The festival also includes parades, music, and fireworks.

Texts: The Bible is the most important text in Catholicism, although the Church also places great emphasis on the teachings of the Pope and the magisterium (the official teaching authority of the Church).

Places of Worship: Catholicism has many churches throughout Spain, including some of the most important religious sites in the country such as the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, the Cathedral of Seville, and the Santiago de Compostela Cathedral.

Sacred Places: Many of the Catholic churches in Spain are considered sacred places, as well as pilgrimage sites such as the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela and the Monastery of Montserrat.

Leadership Structure: The Catholic Church in Spain is headed by the Archbishop of Madrid and is organized into 70 dioceses. The Pope is considered the spiritual leader of the Catholic Church worldwide.

Local Leaders: Some notable Catholic leaders in Spain include the Jesuit priest and theologian St. Ignatius of Loyola, who founded the Society of Jesus in the 16th century, and St. Teresa of Avila, a mystic and writer who was instrumental in the Catholic Counter-Reformation in Spain.


Introduction: Islam is the second-largest religion in Spain, accounting for approximately 4 percent of the population according to the Spanish Centre for Sociological Research (2019). The majority of Muslims in Spain are immigrants from North Africa, South Asia, and the Middle East.

Origin: Islam originated in the Arabian Peninsula in the 7th century CE, when the prophet Muhammad began receiving revelations from Allah. The religion spread rapidly throughout the Arabian Peninsula and beyond, eventually becoming one of the world's major religions.

History: Islam has a long and complex history in Spain, dating back to the 8th century CE when Muslims from North Africa invaded the Iberian Peninsula. This led to the establishment of Al-Andalus, a Muslim territory that encompassed much of modern-day Spain and Portugal. For several centuries, Al-Andalus was known for its flourishing culture, art, and science. However, in the late 15th century, Christian kingdoms began to reconquer the territory, leading to the end of Muslim rule in Spain.

Adherents: The majority of Muslims in Spain are immigrants from North Africa, South Asia, and the Middle East. Spanish-born Muslims are a small minority. The Muslim population in Spain is diverse and includes individuals from various ethnic and linguistic backgrounds.

Belief System: Muslims believe in one God (Allah) and that Muhammad is the last prophet of God. The Qur'an is considered the holy book of Islam and contains the teachings of Allah as revealed to Muhammad. Muslims also follow the teachings of the Hadith, a collection of sayings and actions of Muhammad.

Practices: Muslims in Spain, like Muslims around the world, perform the five daily prayers, give alms to the poor, fast during the month of Ramadan, and perform the pilgrimage to Mecca (hajj) at least once in their lifetime if they are able. There are also various Islamic centers and mosques throughout Spain where Muslims can gather for prayer and community events.

Rituals, Events, and Celebrations:

  • Eid al-Fitr: Also known as the Festival of Breaking the Fast, it is a three-day celebration that marks the end of Ramadan, the month of fasting. Muslims gather to offer prayers, give charity to the poor and needy, and share meals with family and friends.
  • Eid al-Adha: Also known as the Festival of Sacrifice, it is a four-day celebration that commemorates the willingness of Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) to sacrifice his son Ismail (Ishmael) as an act of obedience to Allah (God). Muslims gather to offer prayers and sacrifice an animal, with the meat divided among family, friends, and the needy.
  • Jumu'ah: It is the congregational Friday prayer that Muslims offer every week, which includes a sermon (khutbah) by the Imam (prayer leader). Muslims gather at mosques for this prayer, which is mandatory for men.
  • Taraweeh: It is a special prayer that Muslims offer during Ramadan after the Isha (night) prayer. The prayer consists of recitation of the Quran in a special format, and it is usually led by a skilled reciter (Qari).
  • Laylat al-Qadr: Also known as the Night of Power, it is believed to be the holiest night of the year, occurring during the last 10 days of Ramadan. Muslims spend the night in prayer and remembrance of Allah, seeking His forgiveness and blessings. It is believed that good deeds performed on this night are equivalent to those performed over a thousand months.

Texts: The Qur'an is considered the most important text in Islam, as it is believed to contain the word of Allah as revealed to Muhammad. The Hadith is also an important text, as it contains the teachings and sayings of Muhammad.

Places of Worship: There are many mosques and Islamic centers throughout Spain where Muslims can gather for prayer and community events. One of the most famous is the Great Mosque of Granada, which was built during the Muslim rule of Al-Andalus.

Sacred Places: Mecca, the birthplace of Muhammad, and Medina, where he established the first Islamic community, are considered the two most sacred places in Islam. However, there are no specific sacred places in Spain related to Islam.

Leadership Structure: There is no central leadership structure in Islam, as each mosque is typically run by a local imam who is responsible for leading prayers and providing guidance to the community.

Local Leaders: There are many imams and Islamic scholars in Spain who provide guidance and leadership to the Muslim community. Some of the most well-known include Sami aldeeb, Mansur Escudero, and Kamal Raisuni.

Protestant Christianity

Introduction: Protestantism is a Christian denomination that originated during the Reformation in the 16th century. In Spain, Protestantism is a minority religion, with approximately 2 percent of the population identifying as Protestant according to the Spanish Centre for Sociological Research (2019).

Origin: Protestantism emerged during the Reformation in the 16th century, when leaders such as Martin Luther and John Calvin called for a reform of the Catholic Church. Protestantism rejected several Catholic teachings and practices and emphasized the importance of individual faith and the authority of the Bible.

History: Protestantism first arrived in Spain during the 16th century, but it faced harsh persecution from the Spanish Inquisition, which was established to combat religious heresy. During the 19th and 20th centuries, Protestantism began to grow in Spain, particularly among expatriate communities and some Spanish intellectuals. Today, Protestantism is a minority religion in Spain, but it continues to grow.

Adherents: Protestants in Spain come from a variety of backgrounds, but they tend to be younger, better educated, and more politically liberal than the general population. Many Protestant communities in Spain are composed of foreign immigrants, particularly from Latin America and Africa.

Belief System: Protestantism is a diverse denomination, but it emphasizes the importance of individual faith and the authority of the Bible. It also rejects some Catholic teachings and practices, such as the authority of the Pope and the veneration of saints.

Practices: Protestant worship services in Spain typically involve prayer, music, and preaching. Many Protestant communities in Spain also emphasize community service and social justice.

Rituals, Events, and Celebrations:

  • Protestant Reformation Day (October 31): This day marks the beginning of the Protestant Reformation and is celebrated by Protestant communities in Spain to commemorate the work of reformers such as Martin Luther, John Calvin, and others who sought to challenge the practices and beliefs of the Catholic Church during the 16th century.
  • Good Friday: The Friday before Easter Sunday is observed as Good Friday, and it is a solemn day for reflection and prayer for Protestant communities in Spain. This day commemorates the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, and many Protestant churches hold special services, including processions and reenactments of the Passion of Christ.
  • Confirmation: Confirmation is an important rite of passage in the Protestant Church, and it is often performed during the teenage years. The ceremony is designed to affirm the faith of young people and to give them a sense of belonging to the wider community of believers.
  • Christmas Eve: Protestant communities in Spain celebrate Christmas Eve with special services, including carols, readings from the Bible, and the lighting of candles. This day is a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ and is marked by joy and festivity.
  • Baptism: Baptism is another important ritual in the Protestant Church, and it symbolizes the washing away of sins and the beginning of a new life in Christ. Many Protestant churches in Spain hold baptismal services throughout the year, and it is often performed on infants or adults who have recently converted to the faith.

Texts: The Bible is the most important text in Protestantism, and it is seen as the ultimate authority on matters of faith and practice.

Places of Worship: Protestants in Spain worship in a variety of places, including dedicated church buildings and community centers.

Sacred Places: Protestants do not typically venerate physical places or relics in the same way that Catholics do. However, some Protestant communities may place special importance on certain locations that are significant to their faith.

Leadership Structure: Protestant denominations in Spain vary in their leadership structures, but many are organized around a pastor or group of pastors.

Leaders: There have been many influential Protestant leaders throughout history, including Martin Luther and John Calvin. In Spain, there are many pastors and leaders of Protestant communities who have had an impact on the growth and development of Protestantism in the country.

Role in Society: Protestantism is a minority religion in Spain, but it has had a significant impact on Spanish society, particularly in the areas of social justice and human rights. Protestant communities in Spain have been active in promoting these values, and they have also played a role in providing support to immigrant and marginalized communities.