LIKE most things here in Spain, what the nation borrows from overseas is usually adjusted and transformed into something of their own, not to mention each region puts its personal stamp on it. So Halloween is celebrated differently across the country.
Halloween is clearly not an American affair here. It has a rather traditional feel which sets it apart from most European countries.
Better known as El Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead or All Souls Day), Halloween in Spain is a three-day celebration that kicks off on October, 31.
Far from being a commercial holiday, the Spanish Halloween is all about honoring the dead and celebrating the continuity of life.
Accordingly, specific customs and rituals can be observed throughout the country, most of them similar to those in Mexico and other Spanish-speaking nations.
For example, during the Dia de Todos Los Santos (All Saints Day) November, 1, which is a public holiday, many families tend to gather at the grave of their deceased relatives with holy water, flowers, food, and drink in order to rejoice and socialise.
Halloween in Malaga
If the year’s most terrifying night finds you in Malaga, be sure to visit the gorgeously decorated cemeteries, they’re a real eye-opener if you’ve never been before.
Unfortunately, the city’s infamous Zombie March is long gone, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy the city’s other frightening celebrations. For example, both the English Cemetery and the Botanical Garden organize themed events, and there’s also a Halloween fair called Pechá Zombies Party in the port. However, what will be arranged this year due to the COVID-19 Pandemic remains to be seen.
Halloween in Cadiz
Although not actually a Halloween celebration, Fiesta de Tosantos is a weird and original festival celebrated on October, 31 in Cadiz.
Also known as Fiesta de Los Mercados, this event full of humor and consists of various concerts and street performances held throughout the city, again this year may be different.
The highlight, however, is the decoration of the market stalls. Vendors use their merchandise (fruits, vegetables, meat, or fish) to create elaborate displays that depict scenes and characters from the latest financial, political, or social scandals.
Halloween in Galicia
In Northern Spain, due to the Celtic traditions that still prevail in the area, Halloween is celebrated with more enthusiasm than in the rest of the country.
In Galicia, a region famous for its rich local folklore and ghost legends, the night of October 31 is known as Noite dos Calacús (Night of the Pumpkins) and is celebrated with activities such as pumpkin carving, costume parties, bonfires, rituals, and sometimes even trick-or-treating.
A special feature of Halloween in Galicia is the Queimada – a strong alcoholic drink, usually made from aguardiente, unground coffee beans, sugar, and lemon rind or orange peels. Traditionally, the Queimada is prepared within a pumpkin and consumed after reciting a spell (esconxuro).
I’ve tried Queimada a few times now and must admit – It packs a punch so be careful!