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I Wonder Why...?

I will be writing about aspects of Spanish history and their traditions. I am a very curious person and have always needed to know "why" they do it, and "how" it came about. So over the years while living in Spain I have made a conscious effort to discover "el porque de las cosas" and I will be sharing them with you. I hope you find it as fascinating as I do.

Halloween in Spain
Friday, October 29, 2021 @ 2:18 PM

 

All of you who know Spanish culture will agree that it revolves around festivals and parties. Most of the world knows about the British way of celebrating Halloween, but if you are in Spain on October 31 this year, you will realise that it is quickly becoming an important affair here. The festival which originated from the essence of remembering the dead, including saints (hallows), martyrs, and all the faithful departed is fairly common in most of the civilizations across the globe.

When it comes to festivities the Spaniards like everything to be grand and elaborate. So now Halloween has become a three-day event starting with the night of Halloween. The second day (November 1st) is Dia de Todos Los Santos (All Saints Day) a day that has always been celebrated as far as can be remembered. Finally, on November 2nd, the concluding day of this festival is known as the Dia de Los Muertos (the Day of the dead) a holiday that is being borrowed from the Mexican tradition. This festival is all about honouring the dead and celebrating the continuity of life and thanking the Lord for giving us this life.

 

 

Different provinces and parts of Spain follow different rituals on these three days. Halloween in Galicia in Northern Spain is celebrated with more enthusiasm and pumpkin carving competitions, costume parties, bonfires fill the entire area. People happily sip a strong alcoholic drink named Quemada after reciting a spell (esconxuro).

Halloween in Barcelona and Catalonia is a little different affair and the bars and clubs are full of special nights and costume parties. Enjoy the Catalan tradition of La Castanyada and eat the small Catalan cakes ”panellets” made of marzipan, almonds, nuts and various other foods. Also be a part of various events, game shows, music concerts and other activities. You can eat in the local stalls which will be filled with seasonal delicacies such as castanyes (chestnuts), sweet wine, savouries, sweet potatoes and other delicacies.

 

 

There might be other fun activities in Barcelona during this time, but the locals do not forget to pay respect to their dead. Make sure you visit the city’s magnificent cemeteries to witness these mass gatherings. Some of the popular cemeteries are Montjuïc, Poblenou, and Les Corts.

Even though Halloween in Spain certainly has a commercial side, you will witness families gathering at the graves of deceased loved ones with flowers, offerings, holy water, food and drink on the second day of the festival. This is very much rooted in their culture and most will place at least flowers on family members' graves.

Halloween and the cut-outs of pumpkins go hand in hand in the memory of everyone who celebrates it or has witnessed it in movies and TV series. Just like in Britain and the US, on the first day of Halloween, around the country, you will now see children carving pumpkins and illuminating them with candles. It is now common to see pumpkins on sale in all supermarkets, something that wasn't so common 10 years ago. 

 

 

In the Southern part of Spain, in the city of Malaga, Halloween is marked with a large zombie march through the streets. You can witness the participants dressed up as witches, ghosts, goblins, zombies, vampires, Dracula, Frankenstein etc. roaming around on the streets and scaring people. There are competitions organised to tell scary stories and there is an eerie environment all around. This air of carnival can be seen in most cities around the country nowadays especially in University cities where you will see hundreds of students dressing up and roaming the streets.

In the city of Cadiz, during the Halloween holidays, street performances and concerts are organised. Also, you can enjoy the fruit and vegetable stalls which will display characters from some recent political scandals. The cut-outs and models made out of fruits and vegetables are quite mind-boggling. 
Tosantos in Cadiz also celebrates what is possibly the world’s weirdest Halloween gastro fest where market stallholders dress up their merchandise in fancy dress, so long as it’s entertaining and made out of food, anything goes. 

 

 

 



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