Articles/ Spanish Traditions

Why do Spanish people eat so late?

Probably one of the things you have noticed about Spaniards is that our lunch and dinner times are sooo late! We usually don’t have lunch before 14:00 and our dinner could easily be around 22:00. How do we survive? Well, thankfully, we have almuerzo (a small lunch that consists of a tapa and a caña, wine or coffee), typically around 12:00 or 13:00. Some people, particularly children, have merienda as well, which is a piece of fruit or a bocadillo around 18:00. 

Spanish People tend to eat very late
Spanish People tend to eat very late


But what’s the reason for this? Well, we need to go back in time, around 1942 to find out. You probably know that around that time we used to have a dictator called Franco in Spain. Unfortunately his ideology was pretty close to Hitler’s. So he decided to synchronize the time zone in Spain with that of Berlin, moving it one hour forward. Therefore, if we have lunch at 14:30, the sun will be in the same place that it is in Germany at 13:30.

But there’s another reason for it. After the civil war, most of the families were so poor that more than one job was needed to survive. It was fairly common to have two jobs: one in the morning that would normally end at 14:00 and another one from 16:00 or 17:00 until later at night. So families had to eat lunch and dinner late. And then we just got used to it, I suppose.

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