The Chapel of the Almudena at the Cemetery of Almudena in Madrid:
The three-day festival of All Saints and Souls Days honor
the dearly departed by visiting them in their final
resting places. And as such it has nothing
to do with trick or treat
The annual festival of Todos los Santos (All Saints Day) is celebrated throughout Spain as a national holiday on the 1st of November. But it is in fact a three-day celebration encompassing Todos los Santos and Dia de los Difuntos, beginning on the 31st of October and ending on 2 November (Day of the Dead or All Souls Day).
In all these three days, and days prior when Spanish families go to the cemeteries to spruce up the gravestones of the dearly departed for their Big Day, there is a hugely increased traffic to these hollowed places. The number of people flocking there peaks on 1 November.
As such, there is no room for trick or treat in the Spanish three-day Saints and Souls festival although people in this country are increasingly fascinated with Halloween customs.
Anticipating the lively exodus to the cemeteries, many local governments across Spain increase the frequency of bus trips to these final resting places.
The Madrid government is not one to be caught napping on the job.
For those who would like to visit the graveyards and honor their dearly departed, or join the Madrileños in honoring their dead, the Ayuntamiento has increased the frequency of the EMT buses plying the cemetery routes: Bus Line 25 (Opera-Casa de Campo), 106 (Manuel Becerra-Vicalvaro), 108 (Oporto-Cemeterio de Carabanchel), 110 (Manuel Becerra-Cementerio de Almudena), 113 (Mendez Alvaro-Ciudad Lineal), 118 (Embajadores-La Peseta), and the “ServisiosEspeciales” Plaza Eliptica-Cementerio Sur, and Plaza de Castilla-Cementerio de Fuencarral.
And there’s a free guided tour of the Almudena Cemetery too. Check out visitascementerioalmudena.sfmadrid.es
The Almudena Cemetery in the Ciudad Lineal District is Madrid’s main necropolis. It is replete with history, works of art and tombs of illustrious Spaniards. Pantheons, chapels and artistic monuments of diverse sculptural and architectural styles (neo-gothic, neo-romantic, modernist, neo-classic, eclectic) lend especial value to the cemetery.
Buried in the Almudena are the remains of significant personalities. To name a few in politics (Niceto Alcala-Zamora, President of Spain’s Second Republic; Jose María Gil-Robles and Alejandro Lerroux, ministers of the Second Republic; Enrique Tierno Galvan, Mayor of Madrid), and the world of culture (Vicente Aleixandre, Nobel Prize for Literature; writers such as Dámaso Alonso, Pío Baroja and Benito Pérez Galdós; and artists like Lola Flores, Olga Ramos and Fernando Rey).
The cemetery which is named for the Virgin of Almudena, the patron saint of Madrid, is one of the biggest in Western Europe. It was created in 1884 but was not officially opened until 1925.
More info: www.madrid.es (“Ocho Lineas de la EMT potenciaran su servicio hacia los cementerios”)
Featured image/Luis Garcia, CC BY-SA3.0
Public bus to the Almudena Cemetery/Diario de Marid, CC BY4.0
Homage to Juan Vazquez de Melia/Diego-tradicionalista, CC BY-SA4.0 via Wikimedia Commons
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