All of you who knows the core of Spanish culture, will agree that it revolves around the spirit of hosting 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 realize that it is a big affair here. The festival which originated from the essence of remembering the dead, including saints (hallows), martyrs, and all the faithful departed is quite common in most of the civilizations across the globe.
A three-day celebration
Spaniards like everything grand and elaborated. So they celebrate Halloweens for three days starting with el Dia de las Brujas (Day of the Witches). The second day (November 1st) is Dia de Todos los Santos (All Saints Day). Halloween is not an American affair here and it has a traditional feel which is akin with the people of Spain who are known for their warmth and hospitality.
On November 2nd, the concluding day of this festival is known as the Dia de los Muertos (the Day of the dead). Spaniards do not consider this as a commercial holiday. For them this festival is all about honoring 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 in 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 as 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 stuffs. Also be a part of various events, game shows, music concerts and other activities. Eat in the local stalls which will be filled with seasonal delicacies such as castanyes (chestnuts), sweet wine, savories, 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.
Honoring and remembering the dead
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.
Night of the Pumpkins
Halloween and the cut-outs of pumpkins go hand in hand in the memory of everyone who celebrates it or has watched it in movies and TV series. Just like in Britain, on the first day of Halloween, in Galicia pumpkins are carved and illuminated to pay respect to the dead.
A Zombie March!
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 organized to tell scary stories and there is an eerie environment all around.
Fiesta de Tosantos
In the city of Cadiz, during Halloween holidays street performances and concerts are organized. 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.
Plan your holidays well in advance, and enjoy a spooky vacation this time.