Halloween is just around the corner. If you think Halloween is a big celebration in Britain, you may be astonished to know that it’s a bigger event in Spain. In Spain, Halloween is much more than a commercial event for kids. In fact, Halloween in Spain is unique, especially compared to the luxury celebrations In America or in other parts of Europe. It brings a more traditional feeling. How do we celebrate Halloween in Spain?
How do we celebrate Halloween in Spain?
Here are interesting facts about Halloween in Spain.
A Three-Day Event
Known as El Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead or All Souls Day), Halloween in Spain is celebrated on three days rather than a single night. The celebration starts on October 31st with Dia de las Brujas (Day of the Witches), followed by Dia de Todos los Santos (All Saints Day) on November 1st, and the biggest event is Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) on November 2nd.
Unlike a commercial holiday, Halloween in Spain is focusing on remembering the deceased and commemorating the continuity of life. The rituals of these days are quite similar to those in Mexico and other Spanish-speaking nations. For example, during All Saints Day, many family members gather at the grave of their ancestors with holy water, flowers, sharing food, and drink to celebrate and socialize.
Let’s take a look at how do we celebrate Halloween in Spain. From Galicia to Andalusia, you’ll be surprised by the ways Spanish mark this autumn holiday.
Halloween in Galicia
In northern Spain, the Celtic traditions are still predominate in the area, so Halloween is commemorated with more enthusiasm than in the rest of the nation.
In Galicia, a region known for its rich local folklore and ghost legends, the night of 31st, also called Noite dos Calacús (Night of the Pumpkins), is marked with related activities such as carving pumpkin, burning bonfires, costume parties, rituals, and sometimes going trick-or-treating.
A distinct feature of Halloween in Galicia is the Quemada – a strong alcoholic drink, made from aguardiente, unground coffee beans, sugar, and lemon rind or orange peels. Traditionally, the Quemada is made in a pumpkin and drunk after chanting a spell (esconxuro).
Halloween in Barcelona and Catalonia
Halloween in Spain is mainly celebrated as a fun holiday for kids, or as a spiritual event for families to commemorate the deceased. But in big cities and vibrant university towns, you will find clubs, hotels, and restaurants hosting fascinating events and elaborate costume parties.
One of these places is in Barcelona, which many Halloween fiestas are celebrated in the city’s famous bars and nightclubs. In addition, you’ll have the opportunity to enjoy the Catalan tradition of La Castanyada.
In Catalonia and Barcelona, All Saint’s Day and the surrounding days are held with the Castanyada festival. Streets are lined with seasonal delicacies such as castanyes (chestnuts), sweet potatoes, sweet wine, and panellets – small Catalan cakes made of marzipan, almonds, and different flavors.
Also, if you have the chance to experience Halloween in Barcelone, visit the city’s beautiful cemeteries such as Poblenou, Montjuïc, and Les Corts, for some memorable night tours and excellent classical music concerts.
Another special Halloween custom celebrated in Barcelone is Ruta de Altares (Route of the Altars). Over the last few years, this relatively new tradition dedicated to Mexican Día de los Muertos has been more and popular throughout the streets, bars, galleries, restaurants, shops, and associations.
For a spookier experience, visit the small town of Sant Feliu Sasserra, in the comarca of Bages. In the 17th century, 23 women all over Catalonia were killed for their supposed association with witchcraft. So every year, they are honored with a two-day Witch Festival (also known as Fira de les Bruixes) and its dramatic entertainments that reenact the events of that dark time.
The event starts on the night of October 31st in Plaça de l’Església with a mysterious parade that runs through the darkest corners of the village.
On November 1st, All Saints Day, there are many dancers, street artists, and stalls offering a broad selection of delicacies, artisan crafts, and tarot services. If you’re spending Halloween on Sant Feliu Sasserra, don’t forget to visit the small Witch Museum.
Halloween in Madrid
Like any other major city in Europe, Madrid welcomes Halloween with a wide variety of interesting events and activities for the entire family member, from colorful themed parties held by the capital’s discos to wonderful recreational shows organized in the main entertainment parks.
Some of the most common Halloween events in Madrid are the crazy Halloween Pub Crawl (starting in Plaza Mayor), the fantastic displays taking place in the city’s Warner Park and Parque de Atracciones, as well as HalloWANTS – an electronic music festival happening in nearby Leganes.
Especially, the vibrant university town of Alcalá de Henares will host a killer zombie march featuring drummers and dancing in the street, all kinds of frightening creatures, and a professionally choreographed flash mob.
Halloween in Málaga
If you’re commemorating Halloween in Malaga, you’ll find many gorgeous decorations and floral adornments. Both the English Cemetery and the Botanical Garden hold themed events in which you can enjoy the decor. There’s also a Halloween fair, known as Pechá Zombies Party in the port.
While here, walk along Málaga’s most festive street, Calle Larios, to enjoy the beautiful Halloween windows displays, and don’t forget the stylish Soho district, in which plenty of themed workshops and events for the entire family are organized.
Halloween food in Spain
When it comes to Halloween, you may think of sweets first. Spains has some traditional sweets for this autumn season. One of the popular festive foods in Spain for Halloween is the ‘Huesos de Santo’ (Bones of the Holy) or Saint’s Bones. These are tasty little marzipan rolls filled with custard. Traditionally, these food are eaten on All Saint’s Day.
Besides sweets, the Spanish often eat roasted chestnuts during the season, and their aroma is always link to cold days and the festive season.
Halloween costumes in Spain
In America and in Britain, people tend to pick Halloween costumes from pop culture, and it’s not uncommon to see kids and adults dress up their favorite cartoon character, pop star, or book.
However, in Spain, people have the tendency to choose spooky characters for their costumes. The costumes are always macabre. If you’re wondering about a new costume for your Halloween in Spain, consider ghosts and vampires, witches and warlocks, werewolves and zombies. The more frightening, the better.
Cool Halloween gift ideas
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Have you ever thought of greeting Halloween in Spain? Hopefully, this post helps you know how do we celebrate Halloween in Spain so that you can commemorate your upcoming Halloween in Spain without difficulty. For Halloween celebrations in Germany, Halloween celebrations in Europe, or Halloween celebration in Mexico, check out our Halloween Guide.