Bye, Bye Puentes(?)

In Spanish, puente literally means bridge. There are lots of them in Spain and many of them are quite beautiful. Take the puente romano located in dear old Zamora.

Que-ver-en-Zamora[Source]

But puente has another meaning. It’s something like a three-day weekend. In Britain, apparently, it’s called a “bank holiday.”

Here’s how it works. Say you have a national or regional holiday on a Tuesday (like our Fourth of July, for instance). It doesn’t really make sense to work on Monday, am I right? Only instead of you having take a personal day/vacation day, it’s pretty much given to you. Yay! You bridged that gap, didn’t you? Plus, not only are there national holidays, there are regional ones too. April 23, for example, is El Día de Castilla y León, Castilla y Leon Day.

villalar-472[Source]

These days are usually full of tradition, but there’s a lot of traveling, too. After all, why not take advantage of “free” vacation days?

vacaciones

[Source]

I really liked this last year because we had a great year for puentes. El Día de la Constitución (Constitution Day) is on December 6. La Inmaculada Concepción (Immaculate Conception) is held on December 8. Last year, those days were Monday and Wednesday, respectively. That meant, of course, a five-day weekend! A lot of auxiliares didn’t work on Fridays either so they basically didn’t have to work that week. (I, unfortunately, had to work Fridays.)

So if you like vacations and days off, puentes are pretty awesome. The thing is, though, they’re not so good for productivity. (I mean, it makes sense.) And Spain’s economic situation isn’t the best. (Read: 5.4 million unemployed people, 23% of the active population.)

The president-elect, one Mariano Rajoy, has stated that he will eliminate the puentes and instead move the bank holidays to Mondays. This is obviously a drastic measure, especially because lots of people travel during puentes. These people could argue (and some have!) that the hotel industry, which includes restaurants (la hostelería), will lose business. Who knows, really?

Will this be the end of the puente? Do you think this will help or not?

Hey, I’m just glad I got my puente-ing in when I could.

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18 thoughts on “Bye, Bye Puentes(?)

  1. Puent-ing will live on in other countries, even if the cruel dictator assuming power in Spain eliminates them. Chile and Argentina both use the same word to describe the days sandwiched in between days off.

  2. Okay but the thing is puentes have nothing to do with productivity, is a fact that people in spain work more hours dayly than many other countries in europe, even germany, so doing that they only are going to make the productivity worse, because if you have to work a lot for the same bad salary and dont have vacations you are going to be stressed an tired. The thing is a lot of people for other countries thing that in spain we are lazy or work less but its the contrary, and that is the reason of a bad productivity.

  3. Not everybody can have puentes, for example my mother, she is a doctor and works for the Health Service in Asturias, if she wants to not work on Monday (and there is a holiday on Tuesday), she has to ask for a day from her “normal holidays -> month”. Also she can use one of the 6 days doctors have per year (extra-holidays) which are called “moscosos” http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Javier_Moscoso

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