16 May 2017
Posted in History, Tidbits & trivia

Better late than never.

If you’ve ever been to Spain, you know the dinner hour comes late… very late, especially for Americans.

Some believe that the heat makes a siesta in Spain a necessity, which pushed the evening meal ahead. Others believe that late dinners are a Mediterranean tradition.

In a recent article for the BBC, writer Jessica Jones explains that if you look at Spain on a map, you see that it falls within the same longitude as England, Portugal, and Morocco, which all follow Greenwich Mean Time. Spain, explains Jones, has been living in the “wrong” time zone—Central European Time—for 70 years, putting it in sync with countries 1,600 miles away.

Why?

Jones explains: “In 1940, General Francisco Franco changed Spain’s time zone, moving the clocks one hour forward in solidarity with Nazi Germany. For Spaniards, who at the time were utterly devastated by the Spanish Civil War, complaining about the change did not even cross their minds. They continued to eat at the same time, but because the clocks had changed, their 1 p.m. lunches became 2 p.m. lunches, and they were suddenly eating their 8 o’clock dinners at 9. After World War II ended, the clocks were never changed back.”

Lagging an hour behind the correct time zone means the sun rises later and sets later in Spain. That translates to long summer evenings and 10 o’clock sunsets, which visitors enjoy. For the locals, however, it’s a different story. Spanish  health experts have found that living in the wrong time zone results in sleep deprivation and decreased productivity at work.

The country is currently debating a government proposal to “correct” Spain’s time zone to GMT. Controversy, of course, ensues.

For information about a journey to Spain, contact Mariana Tosic at mtosic@rcrusoe.com or call 888-490-8008.

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