Halloween

31st of October, ‘All Saints’ Eve’ or, if you’d prefer, ‘Halloween’, the night when the spirits of the dead walk the Earth. Both traditions have common roots dating as far back as the ancient Celts’  Samhain  (pronounced sow-an or sow-in) festival, which marked the end of the harvest season and the old year, amongst other things.

In Catalonia, on ‘All Saints’ Eve’ we celebrate the traditional ‘Castanyada’, which receives its name from the ‘castanyes‘ (chestnuts) that are typical of that night. People also eat sweet potatoes and ‘panellets, sweet cakes made of almond, pine nuts and sweet potatoes. The following day, ‘All Saints’  (‘All Souls’ Day) is spent visiting the graves of deceased relatives, where prayers and flowers are offered, candles are lit and the graves themselves are cleaned, repaired and repainted.

Today’s Halloween celebration is a little different from what it used to be. It involves carved pumpkins (the so-called Jack O’Lantern) trick-or-treating, wearing costumes and attending costume parties, ghost tours, bonfires, visiting haunted attractions, pranks, telling scary stories, and watching horror films. The drawback… November the 1st is not a holiday in the US…

See the following National Geographic short video for some more interesting facts about the origins of Halloween:

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