I always thought that national anthems were ancient texts passed down from generation to generation and sung with pride. As the recent news in the UK has shown, they can still be works in progress. And now Spain is at it, struggling to find lyrics that fit the national psyche. There is a simple reason for this: until now, the Spanish national anthem had no words.
A competition was opened some time ago, with 7000 people sending in their proposals. “Spain is a country with cheerful people who sing at any opportunity, so why shouldn’t they be able to sing the words of a national anthem?” says Alejandro Blanco, the president of Spain’s Olympic Committee and the man behind the scheme.
But they have quite a job, as the lyrics will have to satisfy patriots and Basques, Catholics and supporters of Franco. If they could just stay away from the usual bloodthirsty drivel we have in other countries, they could maybe come away with one of the better national anthems. Look out for it at the next match of the Spanish football team.