It's Time to Get Spooky!
All around the world people are gearing up for October celebrations like Halloween, Day of the Dead and All Saints Day. Like many places, Spaniards celebrate All Saints Day on November 1st. They begin on All Hallows Eve (Night of All Saints in Spain) on October 31st, remembering those that have passed and honoring them in different ways.
Local Cemeteries are the stars of the day. You will find families everywhere heading to the cemetery to honour those that have passed. The graves are cleaned and prepared in advance so that everything is ready for the 1st of November. The chrysanthemum flower is most typically used to decorate the graves along with evergreen branches. People come to sing, play music and offer prayers for eternal rest.
On the eve of the 31st of October, especially in Andalucia, families gather to “illuminate the dead”. They fill a container with water and oil and place candle butterflies inside, one for each person who has passed. This is done to guide the souls, and they are left in windows, or in front of the door on this night of remembrance.
No Night of All Saints in Spain is complete without the Don Juan Tenorio. Theatres fill to share the tale of this iconic seductor. Romantic dramas have been a tradition on this night since the Roman era, but since Don Juan was born in Sevilla it is particularly significant here. The plot in fact culminates in a cemetery, which makes it the perfect All Saints tradition.
Grandmothers and granddaughters all gather around the oven to create typical treats for All Saints day, including fritters, pastries and candies. Families return home after visiting the cemetery to taste typical local products and fruits. Quince and chestnuts are important additions as well when setting an All Saints table.
Here are some more Local Traditions not to be missed during October in Spain. Spaniards follow the age-old Catholic tradition of honoring the towns' patron saints, but the ways they do this are as diverse as the communities themselves. Many All Saints' Day celebrations feature offerings and gestures of respect, parades and processions. You will find these Ferias in small towns everywhere. Here are a few to check out:
The city of Zaragoza in Aragon honors the city's patron saint, the Virgin Mary of the Pillar. The weeklong event features shows, contests, and parades, the offering of flowers and fruits to the Virgin and the glass rosary parade featuring floats made entirely of glass.
Also called Feria del Rosario, this celebration is held every October 6 through 12 at the fairground. Locals bring their carriage horses and carriages and dress in traditional garb—flamenco dresses for women and suits for men. There are rides, live music, flamenco dancing, and local foods to try.
Nerja hosts a weeklong celebration honoring its patron saints of the Virgin of Anguish and Archangel Saint Michael. Festivities take over the town and the town center. This is a family-friendly festival featuring music, horses, parades, concerts, rides, dancing, and children's activities.
In Jaen, the world's olive oil capital, the city honors St. Luke, its patron saint each October with a week of concerts, bullfights, dancing, local foods, cultural and sporting events.
In Dos Hermanas, near Seville, we celebrate the Romería de Valme religious pilgrimage on the third Sunday of October every year. The colorful processions honor the Virgen de Valme and statues of her are paraded through the streets.
For those of you more interested in film, you will find two distinct celebrations:
An intriguing combination of horror and sci-fi film screenings that started in 1990. This annual film festival takes place in San Sebastian and features full-length films and shorts from around the world. The festival also has street shows, music, exhibitions, and comedy.
This festival of film as well, comes to Spain in October. The LesGaiCineMad is the most significant LGBT film festival in all Spanish-speaking countries. It features more than 3,000 international directors, feature-length films, shorts, video art, and documentaries.
The festival is known internationally for its work in the discovery, subtitling and release of Spanish-American productions which makes LesGaiCineMad a window for GLBT Spanish film distribution.
If you would like to get your hands on some of the most famous sweets of the season, along with a guide to local hauntings, check out
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