by Chris Collins
If it’s 1 November then it’s the Day of All the Saints (Dia de Todos Los Santos). It’s a public holiday, making it possible for the Spanish people to continue with the tradition of remembering their dead, traveling near and far to get to the cemetery where they’re laid to rest and laying elaborate wreaths on their graves. It’s a feast that’s celebrated in a very personal way. A special day for communing with deceased relatives, telling them they haven’t been forgotten.
But wait a minute, what they’re actually celebrating is All Souls Day which in Spanish is Dia de los Muertos, i.e., Day of the Dead, and, strictly speaking, it falls on 2 November! People celebrate ALL SOULS DAY on 1 November which is ALL SAINTS DAY. So there’s a bit of confusion here. Besides, whatever you call it, it’s a 3 day-celebration that starts on 31 October, the eve of All Saints Day.
Florists enjoy a truly brisk trade on the solemn festival for the dead. One comparable to the trade on Valentine’s Day. But no amount of commercialism could take away the heartfelt sentiments of those who gather around the tombs of their loved ones.
The cemetery becomes the holy place to say Mass and for the Eucharist.
Outside, since no festival in Catholic Spain is complete without the savories, All Saints/Souls Day is also the day of the Bunuelos de Viento (Wind Puffs), the Huesos del Santo (the Saint’s Bones), the castañas (roasted chesnuts, for the concurrent celebration of All Saints Day and the Castañada or Chestnut Party), the Panellets (marzipan with fine nuts) . . .
Featured image/Phil and Jo Schiffbauer, CC BY-SA2.0
Bunuelos/Tamorlan, CC BY3.0
Buying flowers/Iglesia en Valladolid, CC BY-SA2.0
Huesos del Santo/Tamorlan/CC BY2.0
Tombs/Iglesia en Valladolid, CC BY-SA2.0
For the departed/Iglesia en Valladolid, CC BY-SA2.0
Brisk trade/Iglesia en Valladolid, CC BY-SA2.0
Castañada/Ayuntament de Barcelona, CC
Panellet/Manel Zaera, CC BY-SA2.0
Mass/Iglesia en Valladolid, CC BY-SA2.0
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