The Spanish Anthem

Posted in Things to Know About Spain

Hola amigos ¿Cómo estáis?


Primero os quiero explicar un poco la historia del Himno español y además quiero que os aprendáis la letra. Así, cuando lo escuchéis en la tele sabréis lo que quiere decir.



Manuel talks about: The Spanish Anthem. What ...?

The Spanish National Anthem is one of the oldest in Europe. Also known as La Marcha Real – The Royal March this National Anthem has no official lyrics. The military tune became a national melody in the late 18th century and was first printed in a document dated 1761. Then in 1770 it was declared official by King Charles III and called The Marcha Granadera for the sovereigns and the Royal Family.


Spanish people called it The Marcha Real – The Royal March. Though The Marcha Real has no lyrics, words have been written and used for it in the past. They were two versions; one was used during Alfonso XIII's reign and another during General Franco's dictatorship but neither of them has been official. Since the death of dictator General Franco in the 1970s the national anthem of Spain has once again been played without any words.


La Marcha Real – The Royal March's Anthem is played by and has been adapted for wind bands. The version for the bugle is called - To the Colours – A los Colores -  There is a version played by drum and bugle bands – banda de cornetas in Spanish churches, at religious occasions and in processions organised by civil groups or parishes. When the National Anthem is played in honour of the King and Queen of Spain, it is common practice for all to stand. It is also required that everyone in attendance joins in.


Nevertheless, when the Spanish Olympic Committee decided that Spain should have lyrics in its national anthem, many Spaniards have ridiculed the idea and the lyrics never caught on. There have been some proposals to create a commission to write words for the anthem but this is still a controversy because Spain has strong regional feelings especially in Catalonia and in the Basque Country.


Spanish people think that this is going to be a very difficult task to find satisfactory words to please everyone. Some Spanish people think that it is not very important to have words or lyrics and they are very negative to the idea to create or find new words. Others think that it is very important because they don't know what to sing when their own anthem is played and it has to have words because otherwise they look funny.


If you watch any sporting event in which Spain has performed brilliantly, like this year at Wimbledon, or the Euro Championship, French Open, Tour de France, any soccer match, etc you may not see the players singing, but the crowds will be la la la la-ing along with the tune, making up their own words. No one could accuse the Spanish of not being patriotic.


Maybe one day someone in Foreign Affairs will come up with passionate words to sing all alone. Ooohh! So they had a competition to write new lyrics. In January 2008, new lyrics for the Spanish National Anthem - La Marcha Real, were revealed. It turns out that still the public is quite content to sing along with their anthem in their own way, gracias, todavía no estamos preparados – thank you very much, we are not ready yet.


This is the Spanish / English version of the new lyrics. Maybe you want to learn the lyrics and sign them along with your best Spanish mate!



¡Hasta luego!



Manuel  "el torero andaluz"


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