Gibraltar traditions and customs

What traditions and customs are there in Gibraltar?

The rock of Gibraltar has been disputed between the Spanish and the English for centuries. Here we briefly review what their customs and traditions are.

Food and economy

Food in daily life

The food is a British-Mediterranean mix with strong roots in Spanish, Italian, English and Jewish cuisine. There are no general food taboos within the different religious groups.

Eating Customs on Ceremonial Occasions

La Calentita, a chickpea tart of Genoese origin, is the national dish.

Basic Economy

Until recently, the local economy depended on the military economy and smuggling (mainly tobacco). In the 1980s and early 1990s, the economy underwent a major transformation and is now based on tourism, port and maritime facilities, and the offshore financial sector. The main exports are oil and manufactured products.

Major trading partners are the United Kingdom, Morocco, Portugal, the Netherlands, Spain, the United States, and Germany. The national currency is the Gibraltar pound.


Religious beliefs

The population is made up of Catholics (77%), Church of England Protestants (7%), Muslims (7%), other Christians (3%), Jews (2.3%) and Hindus (2.1%).

Religious practitioners

All religious groups have seen a struggle for power and control between traditional and orthodox forces. The authority of the Catholic Church, led by a locally born bishop, is strong. There are four synagogues and one rabbi. Although a Hindu temple was built in 1995, there are no full-time Hindu specialists.

The influence of an esoteric guru, Swami Satchidananda, is especially strong, but there are also followers of the Radha Soami movement.

Rituals and Holy Places

The Rock itself is credited with spiritual power by Gibraltarians of all faiths. The typical Iberian Catholic celebrations (Holy Week, processions and pilgrimages) are largely absent. The holiest places for the Jewish community are in nearby Morocco.

Secular celebrations

The most important celebrations are Commonwealth Day (second Monday in March), Constitution Day on May 30 (commemorating the 1969 constitution), and National Day on October 9 (celebrating the pro-British referendum in 1967).).

Arts and Humanities


There are several local poets. As a result of a growing self-identity movement, more Gibraltarians have taken an interest in local history and biographies.

Graphic arts

John Mackintosh Hall, the local community center, is the main venue for exhibitions of local drawings, paintings and sculpture.

Performing arts

There are many dance groups, including groups of Indians and Sevillians, as well as modeling and beauty contests. There is a local music scene as well as some theater groups.

Social Sciences

Many Gibraltarians are passionate ornithologists.

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