how does Spain celebrate it?
Halloween in Spain is vastly different than the
commercialised mess that is ‘celebrated’ in the US or UK. If you are fortunate
enough to be in Spain (Barcelona in particular) for Halloween you are in for a treat.
You probably have a few questions too such as:
Where should I go?
What should I do?
What happens during a Spanish Halloween?
Apart from the usual Halloween shenanigans like highly
suggestive costumes (thank you, ladies), there are a lot of cultural events on
offer too. These events are not just an eye-opening learning experience, but
they are also an insane amount of fun. Oh, and in Spain, Halloween is a
three-day event – with a nationally recognised 'day off' from work so you can
recover from what is bound to be a blistering hangover. Seriously. Shall we
start with Day 1? Lets.
October 31st, El Día de las
Day 1 kicks off with El Día de las Brujas – the Day of the
Witches. This is probably the closest thing to Halloween that other countries
will recognise and is associated with all things that go bump in the night,
witches included of course. Lost souls, black magic and haunted history are all
You find people all over Spain in costumes, bar hopping,
raging out at themed parties in one of the many nightclubs or walking through
the streets, beer in gnarled-costumed hands, taking it all in.
This is the night where you enjoy all of the usual
Halloween debauchery and a time to let yourself enjoy the holiday before night
November 1st, Día de Todos Los
The festivities continue with Día de Todos Los Santos – All Saint's Day. A
traditional holiday that is observed across Spain, it is an opportunity to
honour departed loved ones. People will gather together in cemeteries with
their friends and family. Here they will light candles in remembrance and leave
things such as flowers and wreaths on the graves of their loved ones.
If you are hungover from the Day of the Witches, you need
not worry – all of this happens after the sun goes down, you will have plenty
of time to sleep in and recover with a greasy breakfast.
A lot of the cemeteries where all of this takes place also
have ‘tours’, classical music concerts and masses to take part in. If that
doesn’t necessarily appeal then you can always dive into the parties that will
also be raging all around.
On the other hand, if another night of partying doesn’t
sound like a great idea then you could always enjoy La Castanyada – chestnut
time – which is a traditional Catalan autumn tradition. Street vendors all
around will be offering warm snack treats such as:
Castanyes – roasted chestnuts
Moniatos – sweet potatoes
Panellets – cakes
Moscatel – sweet wine
For something a little more immersive you can also take a
ride to Sant Feliu Sassera, a Catalonian
village. There is a two-day festival here every year on this day to remember
the 23 women who were executed here by the Spanish Inquisition, after being suspected
of witchcraft. Of course, though, this would mean potentially missing Day the 3rd.
November 2nd, Dia de Los
Still in the party mood? The Halloween festivities
culminate with Dia de Los Muertos – Day of the Dead. Traditionally a Mexican holiday,
the Spanish recognise this with Ruta de Altares – Route of the Altars. This is
relatively new here and consists of specially designed altars. These are
erected in around 20 different bars, shops, restaurants and galleries and each
feature a different theme.
You should also watch out for Pan de Muerto – bread of
death. It isn't deadly, don't worry, it is a rather tasty treat of brioche
bread that is seasoned with sesame, sugar and orange. It can only be found
publicly during Dia de Los Muertos so grab some while you can.
Of course, the usual parties will still be going on too so
be sure to pace yourself!