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Spain: staying traditional or going forward


The siesta, we’ve all heard of it. A break of two to three hours to escape the hottest part of the day with or without a quick nap. Even though it is a global custom, it remains to be one of Spain’s most defining traditions. Most foreigners only know the phenomenon from vacations, and mostly in a negative manner because the country shuts down entirely during these hours, providing a difficult obstacle to overcome on the way to cold beers and fried calamari.

Skipping the siesta?

But the world is changing and so is the Spanish attitude towards the siesta. The Spanish government recently released proposals to skip the siesta and to call it quits at 6pm in the evening, rather than 7 or much later. Lots of parents who struggle to balance work life, the siesta, and having kids, are relieved. When you’re stuck at work all day, and have to worry about providing food for and picking up your children, those few extra hours can make all the difference. And not just parents would benefit, lots of people would gain a few extra hours in their evenings. In a country with one of the highest sleep deprivation rates in Europe, this doesn’t sound half bad.

Tradition vs. progress

Originally the siesta was a way to deal with the heat, allowing enough time to properly enjoy a home cooked meal, and a way to deal with irregular working hours. As the economy changed however, the jobs changed, and for some it has become more and more of a tradition that only exists for the sake of existing. Of course this does not mean it’s a bad thing, and many people all over the world still enjoy their siestas. In fact, a short nap is good for productivity, your mood, and can help you get through the day, as long it remains a short nap. Still, it isn’t an absolute necessity. Even more so when a lot of people don’t reap the benefits. This is why the government wants to make a change. The changes are also supposed to improve productivity, decrease unemployment, and make Spain a happier place to live because people don’t longer have to work in the evenings. And by doing so, they are also creating a more aligned timeframe in comparison to the rest of Europe, which can be a great economical stimulus.

You decide

It remains to be seen whether the Spanish fully abolish the siesta, as culture and tradition don’t tend to be changed so easily. In the meantime, an alternative  is coming to Spain very soon. Siesta, or no siesta, the choice is all yours at our brand new Spaces locations in Madrid  and  Barcelona!

Making the most out of your breaks is very important. Did you know you didn’t have to buy a plane ticket to Spain to fully indulge in a true siesta when working at one of our Dutch locations?  You can hop straight into bed after lunch in the COCO-MAT Recharge Room at Spaces Vijzelstraat. This room is designed to give you the best powernap possible so make sure to give it a try!

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