Have you ever thought of your daily schedule? What’s it like? 9am-5pm job, lunch at around 12:30 and dinner at around 6-7pm. That is the typical American (and Lebanese, in my case) daily schedule.
Take a moment and imagine that you own a Zara shop (for those of you that don’t know, Zara is Spanish clothing and accessories retailer). If you lived in America, your normal schedule would most likely be from 9am-5pm (more or less). In Spain, however, the daily schedule is COMPLETELY different.
How? You see, in Spain, they have siestas (15-20 minute naps) dating all the way back to the Spanish Civil War (according to some theorists). To most people, the idea of a siesta originated from the need to take a break during the day because of the hot weather outside. For those who worked from dawn till daybreak outside, 2pm is their biggest enemy. It is when the heat temperature reaches its peak and is simply too hot to be outside working. The workers would take a siesta at home while waiting for the weather to cool down a bit. This tradition spread to not only areas like Northern Spain, Southern Argentina and Chile, but also to other European countries as well.
Nowadays, the tradition still lives on. Almost all shops and even some restaurants shut down their stores from the hours of 2pm-5pm in the afternoon- to take a NAP (well, not all of them take a nap, but you know what I mean). This allows the local business owners to get a break from their morning routine and prepare for a hectic afternoon.
At first, it was so difficult for me to adjust to such a schedule. I was never used to taking naps during the day because I, along with the majority of other college students and workers, leave the house in the early morning and get back home right before supper. But, once my schedule changed so drastically in Spain, I find myself needing a siesta most days.
As wonderful as siestas might sound, they are quite inconvenient on certain days where your only free time to run errands (e.g. go to the bank or recharge your bus ticket at the headquarters) happens to be during the hours of 2-5pm. To get a small census on how the locals felt about the siestas, I asked some of my friends from the university here what they thought about the siesta, and 9/10 people I asked said they loved it. I didn’t expect such a response solely because one can be very productive during the afternoon. However, I guess this means that the siesta will long-live forever.