Have you ever heard of ‘All Saints Day’ and do you know why it is a national holiday?
What is it all about?
All Saints Day a.k.a Todos Los Santos is celebrated on November 1st. It’s a religious holiday which has been celebrated across Catholic and Christian countries around the world for many years. Essentially, it is a day of remembering loved ones who have passed on and paying respects to them.
According to tradition, this day in Spain commemorates those who are already in heaven and the connection they have to those still living. Not only do people honor their own ancestors on this day but also the saints. Nowadays we forget that Spain is deeply rooted in the Catholic faith and All Saints Day is a big reminder of just how important religion and family continues to be for the Spanish people.
How do they celebrate in Spain?
Traditionally, people from all over the country travel back to their hometowns for All Saints Day in order to visit the graves of their deceased relatives. Families visit the cemetery together where they leave flowers while paying their respects. It is a day to spend time with family and can actually be quite a solemn and emotional event. The Eucharist, or Mass, will often be performed in the cemetery several times throughout the day.
Any Halloween connection?
Nowadays we don’t think much about why we celebrate Halloween but many people say the reason Halloween came to be what it is today dates back to the religious holiday, All Saints Day. Halloween, which takes place the day before All Saints Day, is also known as All Hallows Eve. It is said to have been a day when people would ask God for protection from evil.
What do people eat on this holiday?
It is typical to eat a few sweet treats on All Saints Day. One of these is known as huesos de santo, which literally means saint’s bones! They are actually very tasty and made of marzipan and sweet egg yolk. Another traditional delicacy are buñuelos de viento or wind fritters – according to legend, when you eat one, a soul will be set free from purgatory. In some parts of Spain they also eat almond cakes called pannellets, along with roasted chestnuts too. Overall, it could be said the sweet traditional treats played a part in the Halloween candy we see today!
More information on Valencia, its public holidays and local events in our Euroace Blog.