Halloween Celebrations: UK vs Spain

Halloween Celebrations: UK vs Spain

Halloween in Spain

It’s that time again… there’s a chill in the air and the trees are turning shades of orange and brown. Yes, it’s Halloween!

As a kid, I remember loving Halloween. There was just something so exciting about it all. It might have been the thought of dressing up in my favourite costume (usually a cat or devil as that was the easiest costume I could do!) Or perhaps, and most likely, it was the thought of getting lots and lots of sweets!

I don’t know about you, but have you noticed how there’s not as many trick or treaters as there was before? It seems like people are becoming more scared about the world, or maybe more aware. Either way, it’s sad that children don’t experience Halloween as we used to.

Nowadays, and as you get older, you find that Halloween is an excuse to dress provocatively and to have a party. I’m not saying this is something I haven’t done before, but I do feel Halloween has slightly lost its touch for me. In the past few years, I haven’t really celebrated Halloween as much as everyone else seems to be doing. I’ve lost the excitement.

However, all this talk of Halloween has got me thinking, what is Halloween like in Spain?


How does Spain Celebrate Halloween?day-of-the-dead

Having moved to Spain again quite recently, I was interested to know how the Spanish celebrate Halloween. The most obvious phrase comes to mind:

Dia de los Mueros: The Day of the Dead

However, upon further research, this is a day more commonly celebrated in Mexico. Whilst I guess it’s still technically ‘Spanish’, Spain has a slight variation to their Mexican cousins.

In Spain, they have a different name for Halloween:

Dia de Todos Los Santos (All Saints’ Day)


All Saints’ Day in Spain

Whilst not as catchy as the Mexican phrase, the Spanish variation is just as heart-warming. The loveliest thing about how the Spanish celebrate Halloween is that they see it as a celebration of loved ones who have now past. It’s a celebration of the life they have lived and is an opportunity to remember them in the best light.

It’s a lot different than just dressing up in silly outfits or watching scary movies, isn’t it?

Dia de Todos los Santos, or otherwise called Dia de los Difuntos (which is literally translated as Day of the Deceased), takes place on 1st November rather than the western tradition of 31st December. It’s always been commemorated as a time to visit the graves of those who have passed away whether it’s a family member, husband, wife or friend. It’s such a big day for the Spanish that they have now made the 1st November a National Holiday!

Baked goods such as the Hueso de Santo (Saint Bones) are also specially made for the festivities. This pastry is a combination of marzipan, egg and sugar syrup. I’m not a big fan of marzipan, but I must admit it’s a close rival to my Nutella Cheesecake recipe!saint-bones-pastries

As well as a time to celebrate the dead, Dia de Todos Los Santos, is also when Spanish people will celebrate their namesake. You might not have been aware that the majority of people in Spain are named after Saints (this was a Catholic tradition). As a result, this day is also a time when people can honour the Saints that they were named after.

Further research has uncovered that many districts in Spain have slight variations of the same theme. Whilst they might call it by a different title, they all have one thing in common: they are celebrating a time in which they can remember a loved one and are paying their respects for them.

I’m not saying there isn’t any dressing up or colourful parties because there are- there are loads of them, in fact. But the traditional meaning behind Spanish Halloween tradition has made me fall in love with the festivities all over again.

I’m looking forward to seeing precisely how the Spanish celebrate All Saints’ Day on the 1st. But until then, I think more people should remember Halloween in this light. It’s definitely how I’ll be celebrating Halloween this year.

(Halloween has all these scary connotations and is especially associated with fears. What fears do you have? Mine is flying, but I know my partner’s is flying. We’ve written a post all about his fear of flying so don’t be afraid to check it out).