Is Spain Ready to Stay Awake?

The Economic Times - - The Edit Page -

There is more to Spain than paella, Nadal and bull­fight­ing: fla­menco, Pi­casso and Zara, for in­stance. But noth­ing typ­i­fies the en­tire Ibe­rian ethos bet­ter than siesta, that three-hour hi­ber­na­tion from the ex­cesses of the mid­day sun. So, scep­tic Spa­niards can be for­given if they espy the dour hand of EU ho­mogeni­sa­tion be­hind the sug­ges­tion made by their Prime Min­is­ter Mar­i­ano Ra­joy at his party con­fer­ence to forgo the tra­di­tional mid­day nap time in favour of a work­day more in line with the rest of Europe. This at­tempt to set aside a quintessen­tially Span­ish tra­di­tion at a time when cul­tural is­sues have be­come flash­points on that con­ti­nent is cu­ri­ously quixotic. Es­pe­cially since siesta had been put on no­tice at least twice be­fore in the name of im­prov­ing the busi­ness at­mos­phere but could not be ban­ished. Ad­mit­tedly, nod­ding off when Lon­don, Ber­lin or New York are abuzz must prove costly, but 40 winks are not all that bad. Sea­soned prac­ti­tion­ers of this art of power nap­ping can jus­ti­fi­ably point to a study just last month that found a link be­tween siesta and low­ered risk of hy­per­ten­sion, not to men­tion sev­eral older re­ports sug­gest­ing less in­ci­dence of heart dis­ease too. With the mayor of a town in east­ern Spain declar­ing siesta manda­tory just last July, be­fore do­ing any­thing rash, Ra­joy should sleep on it.

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