I knew that la crisis had forced lifestyle changes on everyone in Spain, but I’m shocked to find it has apparently made inroads into a tradition that lies at the very heart of the Spanish psyche: el puente.No, not that kind of puente. I’m talking about the puente that connects a public holiday to the weekend with an additional – official or unofficial – day off.
Tomorrow is San José, which is a fiesta for some comunidades. Usually, such holidays are celebrated on the actual day on which they fall, which means that when there’s a Tuesday or a Thursday fiesta lots of workers take the intervening day and make a four-day weekend of it.
But this year’s official calendario laboral shows that, at least in Madrid, the celebration of San José has been transferred to today, Monday, presumably because someone in the capital thinks we need to start taking things a bit more seriously if we are to struggle out of the economic doldrums.
Valencia, on the other hand, has both today and tomorrow as fiestas autonómicas, while other comunidades aren’t celebrating at all. It’s complicated. Since today I’ve been dealing with clients and projects in Mozambique, Catalonia, Cameroon and the UK, it’s all fairly academic anyway.
It is, though, a good excuse to include one of my favourite quotes – from Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead by Tom Stoppard:
We cross our bridges when we come to them and burn them behind us, with nothing to show for our progress except a memory of the smell of smoke, and a presumption that once our eyes watered.
Actually, I suspect that some of us burn our bridges when we come to them, which might be why the economy remains in such a state.