Fri 29 October 2021
Spain News | November 1st - Day of the Dead
All Saints Day, November 1st, aka "Day of the Dead".
The florist shops in the Marina Alta are having their busiest time of the year this weekend. Monday is a national holiday.
Our local cemetery in Llíber has been buzzing with activity. There have been men from the council there to make sure it all looks well maintained and pristine. The residents are quiet of course, but in a few days the little cemetery will be full of activity.
Spain is still a deeply religious country and some of the most celebrated days on the calendar are holy days. The catholic church designated November 1st as a day to celebrate the saints. All Saints Day dates back to the year 609 A.D.
The day is also known as "Day of the Dead". This name originates in Mexico. The pre-hispanic people of Mexico celebrated death and believed it should be looked forward to, without fear. So they would dress up in calacas (wooden face masks) and have parades and fiestas. When the Spanish colonised Mexico they introduced the Roman Catholic religion and adopted the "Día de los Muertos". They moved it to coincide with All Saints Day on 1st November and All Souls Day on 2nd November.
For those who are strict catholics, it is still classed as a sin to miss the Mass of All Saints, unless there is a very good reason. The day has become a day of celebrating the lives and memories of those family members who have died. It is a yearly ritual for most families to walk to the cemetery with flowers and then have a family meal together.
Traditional treats in Valencia for Dia de los Muertos are castañas (roasted chestnuts)," panellets" (sweet treats made with almonds ,sugar and pine nuts), "bunyols" or buñuelos (doughnut balls filled with cream or custard). The bakers also sell "huesos de santo" (bones of the saint) made from marzipan.
This day is not to be confused with the pagan celebration of Halloween which is 31st October. Halloween has, only recently, become more popular and widely celebrated in Spain. The children dress up and eat halloween treats. They are also slowly learning traditions like "trick or treat" and halloween parties.
The team at Jacaranda Spain are looking forward to watching the ritual of the family processions, with arms full of flowers and candles to decorate the tombstones. It is a day of remembrance and love. The Spanish people are family orientated and here, in the pueblos of the Marina Alta, the gatherings are joyful.
From all of us at Jacaranda Spain, we wish you a peaceful Día de los Muertos, commemorating those you have lost but not forgotten.
“Gratitude is often caused not by gain but by loss.”
― Mokokoma Mokhonoana