Are you ready for the scariest yet funny festive day of the year? Here we are with some tips to celebrate Halloween in Spain.
Even though Spain has always been a quite religious country, celebrating mainly festivities such as All Saints day, nowadays Halloween has a remarkable importance.
Which are the reasons? Well, Spain is an international hub, welcoming every year millions of foreigners from around the world: here, especially in the biggest cities such as Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia, the different cultures mix and match, creating new, unique traditions.
Second of all, Halloween has finally become an international holiday and it doesn’t belong anymore only to the Anglosaxon culture.
And last but not least, do not forget that Spain has dealt for centuries with the power of Inquisition, the institution established to fight heresy, crimes related to witchcraft and later on also non-religious crimes against the monarchy.
Let’s have a brief overview of the cultural roots of this celebration and get ready for a few tips to celebrate Halloween in Spain and have fun with your international homies.
Far from the commercial holiday made up of crazy costumes, tonnes of pumpkins and decorations, the origins of Halloween in Spain are way more religious.
It is a three-day-celebration divided into: “la Noche de las Brujas” (the Night of the Witches) on October 31st, “el Día de Todos los Santos” (All Saints Day) on November 1st and “el Día de Los Muertos” (All Souls Day or The Day of the Dead) on November 2nd.
Yes, Halloween in Spain has definitely a more Catholic footprint, but do not forget that Spain’s northern regions have some strong influences from the Celtic world. Let’s have a look at the Halloween celebrations in Galicia, a region famous for a rich local folklore and ghosts legends. Here, the night of the witches on the 31st of october is also known as “Noite dos Calacús” (Night of the Pumpkins). Well, it can surprise you to know that here Halloween looks way more American than you could imagine: bonfires, pumpkin carvings, rituals, costumes and also trick or treat games.
They’re so into this tradition that they also have a special alcoholic beverage to drink after a spell, during this celebration: the “quemada” (that literally means “burnt”): a strong drink made of aguardiente, coffee beans, sugar and citrus peels.
In Barcelona, just like in Madrid, Halloween is mainly known as a festivity for children or young people willing to participate in colorful costume parties in clubs and restaurants.
What you probably don’t know is that in Catalunya there actually are some historical traditions you can admire along these 3-day-celebration:
- Castanyada: on the night of November 1st there are many events dedicated to the seasonal goodies such as chestnuts (“castanyes” in Catalan), sweet potatoes, sweet wine and others.
- Cemeteries night tours and events: it is an unusual yet fascinating activity. Great cemeteries such as the ones in Montjuïc, Poblenou, and Les Corts “dress up” for special night tours and unique classical music concerts.
- Fira de les Bruixes (“Witch Festival”): it takes place starting on October 31st, in the small town of Sant Feliu Sasserra. It is a fascinating, esoteric and quite dark parade in honor of the women sentenced to death by the Spanish Inquisition, accused for witchcraft between the centuries XVI and XVII.
If you’re spending your semester or year abroad and you can’t wait to celebrate Halloween in Spain with your international friends, here are some tips:
1. Go to the traditional Halloween fairs and costumes parade, like the ones in Galicia or Catalunya; but there also are some other celebrations you can check out in Alicante and Cadiz.
2. Eat traditional Spanish food for Halloween, such as “Huesos de Santo” (saint bones), “Panellets” and “Buñuelos de Viento”.
3. Set up a costume party with your international friends and announce the Best Costume Winner.
4. Celebrate “el Día de los Muertos” (Souls Day on November 2nd) in the Mexican style: gather with your friends and honor your beloved ones in life and death with flowers, holy water, food and drinks.
We also recommend that you check each event specifically due to COVID-19 restrictions; but you can always have the best time and set up something special in town with your international housemates! #StaySafe
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