Contrary come the renowned stereotype, Spaniards actually job-related some that the longest hrs in Europe. This is why the siesta isn’t specifically what you think (and why it could soon it is in going away).

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For every social stereotype, there’s regularly a very specific set of historical circumstances the made it possible. Because that instance: the American photo of Paris together an impossibly elegant and also cinematic alternate dimension actually did, largely, come indigenous Hollywood. And when it comes to the image of Spain as a sun-drenched, lazy nation where everyone takes luxurious mid-day naps, you have the right to probably trace that back to the PR efforts of the Franco program in the ’50s and ’60s — a time as soon as Spain to be trying to attract in tourist on the promise the siestas and an excellent times.

If you ask the average person in Spain, though, siesta is hardly an accurate word to describe it. A siesta is a nap, typically taken in the afternoon. Some alternative terms could include descanso (break), descanso de mediodía (mid-day break) or hora del almuerzo (lunch hour).

While that true that it’s typical to take a mid-day rest in Spain, the bulk of working-age world don’t go home to nap. Here’s what it’s really all about.

The Siesta that Yesterday

If we go back all the method to the very an initial origins that this cultural trope, we land in modern-day Italy. The word siesta actually derives native the Latin sexta, which originates from the Roman tradition to take a rest at the sixth hour that the day.

For the most part, Italy has retained this heritage too (known as a riposo), however Spain’s history played a big role in do the siesta that is own cultural phenomenon (namely, the kind with a mid-day nap). ~ the polite War, that was usual for civilization to job-related two work to support their family members — a morning transition and an evening shift. Having a two-hour rest in between enabled them to recharge a bit before going to their next job, or just to obtain from one ar to another.

Traditionally, one more important reason for the siesta to be to beat the mid-day heat, particularly for employees in the fields. Spain and also Italy room hardly alone in this — other countries close come the equator, like Greece, Mexico, Ecuador, The Philippines, Costa Rica and Nigeria, all observe comparable hours.

These working hrs (approximately 9-2, and then 4-8) stayed ingrained in Spain’s functioning culture, also though most people now job-related in city areas.

The Siesta the Today

The siesta isn’t a monolith. And also it doesn’t constantly happen at the very same time for everyone. Office workers could leave to take a having lunch or operation errands in between 2 and 4 p.m. Small shops and also businesses can close down at about the exact same time. And also then restaurants will certainly close once the lunch rush is done, reopening with time for dinner, i m sorry starts so late in Spain (around 9 p.m. In ~ the earliest).

Though children and also elderly world might opt to take it a snooze, most people with jobs don’t take it naps in the center of the workday. In a many cases, it’s merely not feasible, particularly for civilization who have long commutes. Follow to a 2017 survey, roughly 58 percent of Spaniards don’t nap at all, contrasted to 18 percent that say they take naps in ~ least 4 or much more days out of the week. An additional 16 percent naps anywhere from one to 3 days out of the week, and also 8 percent even less typically than that.

Long lunches are a common method to invest one’s mid-day break, as is to run errands or simply working v one’s break.

Contrary to usual stereotypes, the Spanish actually job-related longer hrs than many of their next-door neighbors in Europe: 1,687 hours per year contrasted to 1,681 in Britain, 1,514 in France and 1,356 in Germany.

This is because of a culture of presentismo, which puts press on workers to stay later on than they should in bespeak to do a an excellent impression (and bolster their project security). This has worsened in recent years post-recession, provided that Spain continues to have actually the second-highest unemployment rate in the europe Union.

The Siesta that Tomorrow

As Spain proceeds to consider the needs of employees in the contemporary economy, the state the the siesta is at this time hanging in the balance.

In 2016, then-Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy announced a proposal to finish the main workday in ~ 6 p.m., nixing the two-hour having lunch break for this reason that workers can get home to their households at a much more reasonable time. And also polls show most Spaniards would prefer this.

Additionally, Spain has been toying with the idea of changing its time zone ago to that of Britain and also Portugal. During civilization War II, Franco moved Spain’s time zone front one hour to main European Time in solidarity through Nazi Germany. Because of this, the sun likewise tends to set pretty so late in Spain, which is component of the reason dinner (and nightlife) tends to begin so late. Spaniards additionally go to bed after that average, and also they have a sleep deficit contrasted to the europe average. However such is life once you’re cursed to raging hard.

Last summer, 110 professional bodies in Catalonia signed on come a arrangement to adjust the local workday by 2025.

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It’s unclear whether prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, who was sworn in simply this previous June, will move forward through these plans. If that does, possibly Spain deserve to finally start to live up to its reputation of gift well-rested.