Thursday, April 7, 2016
APRIL 7 SPANISH PRIME MINISTER WANTS TO END THE SIESTA
Big news from Madrid the week! Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy unveiled a highly controversial plan to legally eliminate the beloved SIESTA. To do so, he proposes trimming the work day by two hours. For those of us who stay awake all day, here are some key points to clarifying this confusing tradition:
ORIGIN OF THE SIESTA. Not surprisingly, folks in sunny Spain have taken a midday snooze since antiquity. Back in the day, the Roman province of Lusitania was always a hubbub of activity. After a long morning of constructing aqueducts, slaves were allowed a break at the 'Sexta hora' and everyone slept. (Roman clocks start at sunrise, so the sixth hour is noon.) Over time, the term evolved into 'Siesta.'
IMPACT OF THE SIESTA. OK.. Let's fast forward to present times. To formally include a siesta in a modern society, you need a standardized schedule. In Spain, work begins at 9:00 and stops at 1:30. Banks, stores and businesses then re-open at 4:00 and stay open until 8:00. Things like La Liga matches and Prime-time novellas generally start at 9:00 or 10:00 and often run until 2:00 am! Siestas also impact the cuisine of Spain. Lunch is the largest meal, while dinner consists of tiny tapas.