As you may or may not know, Colombia is the country with the greatest number of national holidays in the world. (18) The vast majority of the holidays are moved to the nearest Monday in order to not break up the work week and also to encourage domestic tourism. Whatever the motive, these long weekends, called puentes, provide a great deal of happiness to Colombians and those of us lucky enough to be living here. Long live puentes!

Some of the holidays are a given for foreigners (Christmas, Labor Day, etc.), others are culturally appropriate (patriotic holidays), and many are religious. There’s not much of a point in asking what’s being celebrated on these religious holidays–most people don’t know and don’t really care. The occasions are simply opportunities to enjoy time with friends and family, and those who can, get out of the cities to go to their fincas. Enthusiasts of the frequent holidays correlate them with studies indicating that Colombians have extremely high happiness levels; critics argue that they take a sizable toll on the country’s productivity. Regardless of your philosophy, just know that they’re very much part of the reality here! This past weekend was a puente, in fact, for El Día de la Raza (Columbus Day). Ahh, puentes… so sweet, too short.

Ojo: Don’t forget that it’s el puente.

Bueno, clase, nos vemos el martes entonces, ya que este fin de semana es puente.

All right, class, I’ll see you on Tuesday, then, since this weekend is a long weekend.

En noviembre, quiero irme de puente para Cali, pero no sé si me alcance la plata.

I want to go to Cali for the long weekend in November, but I don’t know if I’ll be able to afford it or not.

See also:

Días feriados en Colombia, Wikipedia Extensive list of all national holidays (civic & religious), their dates for this year, and non-official holidays such as Mother’s Day, Teacher’s Day, Halloween, and Día de las Velitas (celebrated, but you still have to go to school/work). In Spanish, but that’s the idea, right?

__________________________________________________ Non-natives, what’s your experience with this word? Had you heard it before? How have you heard it used? Where? If you’re a native Spanish speaker, anything to correct, clarify, comment on or concur with? 


4 responses to “Puente

  1. Hola soy Nacho, sabía esta página por su entrada en Lang-8. Es una buena idea, ayudará mucho a nosotros estudiantes del español.



  2. Hi. In Poland people love “long weekends” too, sometimes to the point that they celebrate for the better part of a week. Are long weekends popular in the US, too?


  3. Hola Nacho!

    Gracias por el saludito! Sigues en Panamá? Seguro que hay muchas semejanzas entre el español de acá y el de allá, ya que Panamá era parte de Colombia anteriormente. Déjame saber qué cosas se dicen allá también. Cuídate mucho.

    Hi Piotrek,

    Oh sure, people love long weekends worldwide. Do they move the holidays to Mondays or Fridays there to create long weekends? I haven’t done an official count, but it seems like national holidays in the US are few and far between :(


  4. Well, in Poland we don’t move official holidays, but whenever they fall close to a weekend (say on a Thursday or Tuesday) people tend to take an additional day off, so if you want to have something done urgently on such a “middle day”, and you don’t know the way things go here, you’re in for a surprise. For example May 1 and May 3 are both holidays, so people typically take a day off on May 2.


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