Halloween in Spain: Todos los santos

halloween spain

Halloween is around the corner! Even though this celebration is now integrated into the Spanish calendar, it’s certainly not a traditional Spanish festivity. However, shops decorate and make special offers and both children and adults enjoy dressing up and throwing parties at a perfect time between the beginning of the school year and Christmas.

The Spanish traditional festival closest to Halloween would be “Todos los Santos” (in Catalonia, “La Castanyada”). Celebrated on November 1st, families get together to remember the dead by bringing flowers to their tombs and spending some time around.

When families gather during this day, they eat chestnuts, sweet potatoes and, especially in Catalonia, the “panellet” cakes, which are made from long-lasting ingredients such as nuts, associated with eternity. Also sweet and tasty are the “huesos de santo” (marzipan rolls filled with egg yolk sweet cream) and the “buñuelos de viento” (round-shaped doughnut fritters), among others.

If you’re living in Catalonia, you’ll see that many expat communities organize their own Halloween parties at public parks (maybe not this year) and go trick or treating with their expat neighbors. Note that Spain borrowed the wearing-a-costume side to Halloween, but trick or treating is not very common. On the contrary, children are likely to work on “La Castanyera” at school by learning the story or singing songs (a Catalan tale about an old lady who sold chestnuts).

We hope you enjoy the sweet part of this solemn festivity, as this year gatherings are complicated. Stay safe learning some Spanish online! :P

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