Explaining a Concept: Siesta

Topics: Latin America, Sleep, Latin American culture Pages: 3 (1270 words) Published: December 22, 2012
Suppose you're in Spain. Or even in Venezuela or Argentina. And it's almost 3 o'clock. There are queer goings-on here. Most of the shops and offices are closed: only large supermarkets and eating places work - restaurants, bars, cafes and pubs. The classes in the universities take place only before midday, and after that, well, after that - in the evening, after 5 o'clock. All employees and vendors, students and doctors, housewives, businessmen and cleaners pour out into the streets at 2 pm and disappear in their homes or restaurants to dine heartily, drink a couple of glasses of wine and merely relax. All the streets are very quiet at the time. The youth seems to be contented lying on the grass in the park or taking a nap on a bench. People who consider themselves more imposing cluster in the bars with gorgeous upholstered sofas and after having swallowed a glass of brandy at dinner can afford to fall into a doze for half an hour. The whole thing tends to come as an oddity to a European mentality. At least, to us, Russians. Not that we do not know that this peculiar phenomena is called ''siesta'', but it somehow appears to be something alien and our of ordinary. However, nowadays it is decently hot in Russia and, therefore, at almost governmental level opinions start to emerge saying that Russian employers should think about changing the working time regulations, in order for workers to enter some analogue of ''a siesta''. So, what is the whole ado about? A short historical reference. The word ''siesta'' refers to a brief midday sleep, usually taken immediately after lunch. The word itself originates from the Latin expression ''hora sexto'' (''sixth hour'') in accordance with the Roman way of calculating the day time. Up till now, it is not totally clear when siesta appeared for the first time, but most sources agree that it probably was southern Portugal where they called this type of rest a ''sesta''. It was, however, due to the Spaniards that a siesta...
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