All Saints Day in Spain (Todos Los Santos) takes place on November 1st. It is a very important national public holiday when people from all over the country return to their town or village to lay flowers on the graves of deceased relatives. There are few religious days that mean quite so much to the ordinary people of Spain as this day.
The traditional thing to do on All Saints Day is to purchase flowers, especially chrysanthemums and present them as gifts to their loved ones. It is the day of the year when the most flowers are sold, and the cemeteries are filled with colour from every type of flower imaginable. A beautiful sight to see, indeed! Churches also hold mass in memories of those deceased to supposedly shorten their time spent in purgatory.
As with most festivals throughout the country there are a number of special dishes which are associated with All Saints’ Day. amongst these is the tradition of eating roasted chestnuts, castañas,
Pannellets, small almond cakes apparently which are reminders of the days when home made cakes and offerings were left with the bodies of the dead.
Huesos de santo – the saint’s bones – which have marzipan, eggs and sugar syrup and buñuelos de viento.
Puffs of wind – which are doughnuts liberally sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar.
There are times when it is easy to forget how catholic Spain can be but All Saints’ Day is a powerful reminder of the importance of religion, and of the family, even in the modern age.
Note that all shops, banks, schools and offices will be closed on All Saints' Day in Spain, this is known as a Red Day (National Holiday), in some areas if the 1st falls on a Sunday the Monday will also be taken as a holiday.