The following map shows once again that reality is very different from what the Spanish think: no, in other countries they don’t eat dinner too early. Evaluating the average dinner time by European country, Spain is by far the one with the latest hours.
During years, Spain has been known for its really late dining hoursusually around 9pm or even bordering on 10pm, coupled with an unwavering mid-afternoon nap policy, and the map below only confirms these claims.
This map It has been made by the account @loverofgeography, dedicated to this type of interesting publications, which shows the reality: Spain is the country where later dinner—very followed by Portugal—.
So if you travel to another European place, don’t complain that at 6:00 p.m. or 7:00 p.m. they are already having dinner and all the places are closed, because the Spanish are the weird ones.
The truth is that if you analyze the map it is surprising to see how some countries dine at quite early hours. The differences are huge: some start at 4:00 p.m. (Scandinavian area), while others last until 9:30 p.m.
Why is dinner so late in Spain?
The truth is that the reason behind these customs has nothing to do with a calm and relaxed culture. It actually has to do with quite a complex story. According to a Food & Wine article, the Spanish have been living in the wrong time zone since World War II.
Spain is in the same area as other countries such as Portugal, Morocco and the United Kingdom, which work on Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). However, it works with Central European Time (CET)moving it forward one hour, due to the ex-military and Spanish dictator, Francisco Franco, who established the change to be more synchronized with Nazi Germany.
Even after the war ended, the clocks have never changed again. Despite public support for some measures that have been attempted in the past, Spain’s decision to change the time zones seems to have been in the background.
José Luis Casero, president of the National Commission for the Rationalization of Spanish Timetables, told the BBC that “If we changed our time zone, the sun would rise an hour earlier and we would wake up more naturally, meals would be an hour earlier and we would sleep an hour longer”.