The Spanish Language Blog

We all know that Spaniards often find themselves outdoors above average, especially in spring and summer, when evening temperatures are still above 20 degrees. Spaniards go to cafes, grab a terrace in the many, beautiful squares or have their Spanish beer on their own terrace at home. There are plenty of places to relax in the healthy outdoors. Yet in the late 1990s, young people came up with a new idea!

  • Bring a bottle and enjoy the Spanish atmosphere with young people in town squares. A botellón is meant for cozy summer evenings.
    Guitars and sometimes an entire keyboard are brought along to make the (flamenco) music themselves for the ultimate Spanish feeling.
    Rules keep social gatherings from getting out of hand.

The botellón phenomenon is very famous in Spain, but is now slowly flying over to countries such as Belgium and Ireland. The origin of the botellón is in the Spanish autonomous state of Andalusia, where people began buying alcohol in stores in the late 1980s and taking the bottles outside to enjoy the pleasant temperature even in the evening. Botellón is the Spanish word for "bottle". Especially Spanish young people adopted this habit. It is said that the main reason for buying bebidas yourself is that this way you can go out cheaper. Over the years, it became more and more popular and friends gathered every weekend in summer and spring in parks and town squares to have a drink together. In many cases a guitar is brought along to bring in that real Spanish atmosphere. Friends sing with each other, clap to the rhythms of flamenco and dance. It's all about conviviality, being with friends, relaxing outdoors and enjoying a small drink. Beer, spirits and wine mixed with soft drinks (typically Spanish) are alcoholic beverages often used for a botellón in Spain. After a botellón, young people return home or continue their party at a bar or nightclub.

Not everyone in Spain agrees with the phenomenon these days, as it can sometimes cause some inconvenience. To keep everyone happy, the rule is that botellón can no longer be held everywhere. Some parks are closed at night and police walk around to keep it quiet. Nowadays it is forbidden to consume alcohol on the streets, but it is allowed to gather in town squares. It is therefore tempting for many young people to take a small drink anyway. Spaniards love conviviality and enjoying life. They keep the fun going in the streets even at night, and tourists can sometimes join in with the music and dancing they produce in the process.

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