December in Spain

Posted on November 29th, 2011 by Valerie

If  you think that December is an ordinary working month with a bit of extra shopping and a few days off for Christmas, think again. Here, December is about as productive as August, when the whole of Spain grinds to a halt. You simply cannot expect to buy a house, get a new kitchen put in, renew your driving licence, make an insurance claim, see a doctor, give birth or do anything much in August, and December is going the same way, with public holidays on 6 and 8 December.

Puente in Castilian, pont in Catalan: bridge. An untouchable institution that continues to fuel the widespread idea that the Spanish are averse to work: if a dia festivo (public holiday) falls on a Tuesday or Thursday, the Monday or Friday is thrown in for good measure: the resulting long weekend is un puente. The puentes are the life blood of travel agencies, which offer special deals for, among others, the Puente del Pilar (Oct 12), the Puente de Mayo (May 1), and best of all, the Puente de Diciembre aka Puente de la Constitución/de la Inmaculada. (December 6 is Constitution Day and December 8 the Feast of the Immaculate Conception).

And this year they fall on a Tuesday and Thursday, giving us —  un acueducto!

Some companies take the Monday off, others the Friday, and everyone else throws up their hands in despair and disappears for the whole week.

The last acueducto was in 2005, and I went hysterical when my water heater blew up just before midnight on the Sunday, with a flat full of guests. My emergency repairs service sent a plumber pretty fast on the Monday morning… but the spare parts guys were de puente…

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4 Responses to “December in Spain”

  1. Denise Says:

    We have two different puentes, with Tristan having the monday extra free and Cheyenne the friday…..



  2. Mo Says:

    I have to agree, it´s pretty crazy. Coupled with the fact that we then have Christmas, New Year and THEN Reyes, it´s enough to drive you bonkers. I also have my birthday and anniversary in December so while I get lots of pressies, the cuesta de enero is very steep!

  3. Valencia Expat Says:

    An excellent article! One of my “students” asked me today if we have Puentes (etc) back in the UK and was gobsmacked, and a bit horrified, to learn they dont exist back in England. How on earth did we cope without them before moving to spain?!

  4. Pelayo Says:

    I find the puentes quite a nice tradition that unfortunately is in the verge of extintion. I have always given priority to my free time than work. More in a country where workers´rights are always overlooked. It is true that I´m always close to bankrupcy but I can tell I´m quite happy. with the nowcoming times things are changin and withs this worldspread globalization is sad to see how we are living more and more in a world ruled by concepts like “productivity”, “winners/loosers”, “ambition” and all the suchs I just can tell I´ll always be a happy unproductive looser with ambitions far from the standars this society imposes to us.
    Well it is an opinion but the post was, as usual, fun!

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