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Culture Scope: History of Siesta

siesta

The humble siesta. A delightful nap time activity that is well known to Filipinos all over the archipelago. This afternoon activity is something the Filipinos of the past have indulged in for many years. Strangely enough, the origins of this sleepy activity did not originate from the Philippines itself.

Afternoon napping starts way back a thousand years ago, all the way in Spain. The name comes from the Latin hora sexta, meaning “sixth hour”, relating to the idea that the day starts with dawn and that noon, the hour used for siestas, is the sixth.

Spain had a very wide influence in the world and many countries across the globe, especially Spanish-speaking ones, have adopted this afternoon napping practice. Some of these countries include Italy, Greece, and Nigeria.

In this modern and busy century, the siesta is seen as a time waster or a rest period, but in the olden days they were a way of life or even a necessity. This is especially something people in hot climates would do since the heat would easily sap energy from outdoor workers. It was thought that Spain’s farmers were introduced to this in order to optimize their energy during very hot days.

Whether you view it as a rest period from your work or just a fun distraction from your busy day, the siesta holds a special place in Filipino history and is part of the melting pot culture the Philippines is well known for.


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