La Castanyada and All Saints Day Barcelona 2018
La Castanyada and All Saints Day 2018
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In Barcelona and all over Catalonia, apart from Halloween that is celebrated because of its international fame, there is an authentic Catalan festivity called La Castanyada (Castañada), a traditional festival that takes place on the night of October 31, prior to All Saints' Day.
La Castanyada is traditionally celebrated on the 1st of November, but lately the celebration has been moved on the night of October 31st. During the dinner, when the dessert is served, the roasted chestnuts (castanyes) are served, accompanied by a bit of sweet Muscat wine. Chestnuts are the main protagonist of this festivity since it represents autumn. Although gastronomically, la Castanyada consists of a series of products: roasted chestnuts, sweet potatoes, candied fruit, and especially the "panellets", which are small, round and very sweet cakes. The main ingredient is sugar but it has lots of variants: ground almonds, pine nuts (the most typical), coconut, lemon and even chocolate. You can buy them at any pastry shop in any neighborhood of Barcelona!
The chestnuts and sweet potatoes (moniatos) come from the castanyers who roast them in charcoal grills and sell them in street stalls, starting on October and until the end of February. The idea is to eat something warm because the temperatures gets colder, though often when the first Castanyada stands appear on the streets of Barcelona in October, many people are still wearing t-shirts! The tradition of Castanyada began about 50 years ago and now there are many parties and activities for adults and, above all, the little ones to celebrate it. One of the best places where you can find lots of workshops and the party is lived more intensely is el Poble Espanyol.
The national holiday is All Saints' Day which is celebrated on November 1, the day when roasted chestnuts and panellets are also eaten. Next day, on November 2, people traditionall remember the ancestors. That is why there is a tradition of going to the cemetery to visit the tombs, to clean it and to decorate it with flowers. By All Saints´Day the cold weather is approaching and the days are getting shorter and darker. This festivity is the heritage of a Celtic celebration, since on November 1 the 'Semain' festivities were celebrated in honor of the deceased family members, because that is when the darkest period of the year begins, a moment that they considered magical because they believed that they established connections between 2 worlds, the one of the living and the one of the dead.
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