Castanyada, Catalan Halloween in Barcelona

Roasted hazelnuts around the fire in the Night of the Dead

Gothic Quarter by night

With the relevant exception of a walk during Halloween’s night in the narrow alleys of the old Gothic Quarter, Barcelona may not offer as much as some cities in the way of dressing up, parading around the streets trick or treating.

But spending Halloween in Barcelona gives visitors the chance to experience a celebration that’s equally as intriguing and with some creepy sides: La Castanyada.

In Catalonia, 1st November is a time when families come together to celebrate All Saints Day in honour of loved ones lost. The run-up to this day sees the streets of Barcelona play host to vendors selling some delicious delicacies.

Castanyes (Roasted chestnuts) , boniatos (sweet potatoes), panallets : small almond-flavored balls covered in pine nuts, and preserved fruit (candied or glazed fruit). All these traditional recipes are usually tasted with a glass of moscatell, catalan champagne.

The tradition of eating roasted chestnuts and sweet potatoes comes from stories of the night before All Saints Day, when bells would ring into the early hours of the morning in commemoration of the deceased. Friends, relatives and neighbours would take turns in the ringing of the bells and these foods were eaten for sustenance. While fires were set to roast the chestnuts, prayers would be said for the fallen ones. Old bells ringing, religious chants around a fire waiting for the dawn: the creepy side of Halloween in Barcelona is served.

Still, you may be looking for the more “globalized” and well known aspects of Halloween, or just want to be scared out of your wits. In this case, check these ideas below:

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