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.
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?