Cuando por fin se resolvió todo, es decir, cuando ya todos estaban en sus habitaciones con sus maletas, contentos, ya eran casi las seis y media de la tarde.
Why is eran used here? Thanks a lot.
"The imperfect is used for telling time and stating one's age."
Of course, you use Ser for telling time, but if the above statement is true the preterite is not used with past clock times.
I had to look everywhere for this. Very few of the sites on telling time address telling time in the past. All I can tell you is that the few examples that I did find, all of the expressions used the imperfect for past clock times.
It makes some sense to me as the imperfect is used for continuous actions in the past and time is seen as continuous and not something that begins or ends in the past.
Why is eran instead of era?
'Eran' is used instead of 'era' because it's saying that it was 6:30 pm. If you say that it was 1 pm, then you'd say 'Era la una de la tarde' but for every other number, since the other numbers represent more than just '1' then you use the plural form of the imperfect of 'ser' which is 'eran'.
ya eran casi las 6 = it was almost 6