Do they have siesta in Barcelona?

Yes and No.

A siesta is many things to many people. Some would say no and others yea.

If our opinion as locals we would say that the concept of a short nap is very much alive in both Barcelona and Spain.

It goes hand in hand with the Spanish lunch tradition of taking 2 hours as a lunch break and if possible many people still go home for lunch and have a little siesta nap after eating. 

In the center of Barcelona the big brand shops and shopping malls do not close for lunch but many smaller shops will close for 2 hours for lunch usually sometime between 1pm and 5pm. Each shop can decide their own opening times.

So a good tip if you want to visit small shops is to do your business in the morning because you can never quite be sure of afternoon opening times and if they will open again on time after the lunch break.

Where does the tradition of siesta come from?

The word "siesta" comes from from the Latin word "sexta" meaning sixth

The siesta is actually and is a tradition from ancient Rome which spread to Spain with the Roman empire.

Spain was part of the Roman empire for 700 years and you can still see Roman ruins in Barcelona and in Tarragona near Barcelona.

During the Roman empire the Romans would eat and rest around the sixth hour of the day.

They measured the day in terms of natural daylight and so in the Mediterranean areas the sixth hour of daylight would be between 1pm and 3pm depending on the time of year. 

This Roman tradition is still very much alive today. 

Another factor that contributed to the tradition of the siesta was heat.

The period from 1pm to 3pm is the hottest of the day and before air-conditioning, it made sense to get through this hot time by eating, relaxing and having a little nap.

Then one could stay up a little later and enjoy the coolness of summer night.

This tradition of staying up later is still very much present in Spanish society with people generally going later to bed than in northern Europe and consequently starting work a little later.

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Last Updated on Monday, 10 June 2019 13:09