Celebrating Todos los Santos
Every 1st of November Spain celebrates Todos los Santos. In the past All Saints Day was also celebrated in England too. This festival coincided with the Celtic festival of the dead Samhain and was am important date as far back as the 8th century.
In Spain this celebration has lasted through the centuries. Yet in the U.K after changes to the Anglican church calendar, it fell into disuse. Now Halloween celebrations on the 31st October have taken over in England.
November 1st in Spain
“All Hallows Eve” or “Hallowe’en¨ the night before All Saints Day remembers the souls lost to evil. It is celebrated in many places across the world with scary costumes or carving pumpkins to ward off evil spirits.
You may see some Halloween costumes in Spain on the weekend around 31st October. There may be even be halloween parties too. But this is an imported idea and not very popular. They certainly dont do trick or treat in Spain like they do in the UK, USA or Canada.
Halloween in Spain
Todos los Santos means All Saints Day. This is celebrated on the 1st of November but actually spans three days depending on which country you are in. From 31st October until 2nd November. All Hallowstide combines All Saints Eve (Halloween) All Saints Day and All Souls Day (2nd Nov)
In the sixteenth century before Spanish colonization this was actually observed at the beginning of summer.
In Spain on the 2nd of November they commemorate the deceased. Most Spanish families head to the cemetery. Placing flowers on tombs, cleaning gravestone or nichos. (most Spanish burials are in wall niches) Remembering their family members.
This festival is celebrated in different ways across the world but they are all related to the same atmosphere. Light and Dark, life and death. Find celebrations and Halloween activities near you this October / November 2022.
Dia de los Muertos
The most colourful celebrations are the traditional ones in Mexico, Philippines and Guatemala. Learn more here about The Day of the Dead in Mexico The celebration there is actually two days. Dia de los Muertos is on 1st and 2nd of November anually. Whereas in the Phillipines it´s called All Souls Day.
Todos los Santos Food
In Spain, as with any tradition, there are lots of specific foods involved in the All Saints Day celebration. Some traditions believe that you should take food for the next life. There are many delicious treats linked to these festival days. Huesos de Santo, like a marzipan tube called Saints bones are typical especially in Central Spain. In Catalonia Panellets, almond and pine nut treats are traditional. In Andalucía Sweet Potatoes and fried buñuelos are sold in local bakeries and stores.
Seasonal Fruit in Spain
Typical produce at this time of the year are Roast Chestnuts, Grapes, Pumpkins and Persimmon. Local Seasonal fruit such as Pomegranate or Quince are also plentiful in autumn months in Souther Spain.
Buñuelos de viento, are round little fried donuts, sometimes filled with cream. Otherwise they are plain but rolled in sugar on the outside. In Jaen they have Pestiños which are flat biscuit like bakes with black sesame seeds and aniseed liquor inside.
Sweet potatoes are roasted or eaten in the sweet version (confit) too. (seen below)
Panellets is one of the most typical treats on November 1st and my personal favourite.
These delicious treats are eaten in Barcelona and Catalonia, it is the only time you can find these in the cake shops and bakeries.
Here´s the Panellets recipe if you want to make your own.
I think that this recipe would be great idea for a dinner party.
(it´s not a cheap dish to make as Almonds and Pine Nuts are expensive ingredients)
- 1kg Raw Ground almonds
- 1 kg sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 large cup of pine nuts
- 500gr Sweet potatoes
- To make the panellets first boil the sweet potatoes. Wash the sweet potatoes, leave them unpeeled. Boil them in shallow water (just to cover them) until they are completely soft. Take them from the pan and dry them off.
- Peel them and mash the flesh until pureed
- Then in a separate mixing bowl blend the ground almonds and sugar together.
- Add the warm sweet potato puree to the almonds and sugar. Work this mix until it´s even and consistent. Once happy with the mixture let it cool and put aside. (not in fridge)
- Preheat the oven to 180º
- Now beat the three eggs in a separate bowl and leave to one side.
- Then take the pine nuts and spread them out onto a large plate or tray.
- Take the now cooled sweet potato and almond mixture make into small ball shapes. (similar size to meatballs)
- Individually take each ball and dip it into the beaten egg.
- Roll over the pine nuts until covered completely and uniformly.
- Once all are done and the mixture has been used up set the panellets onto an oven tray. Cover them on the tray with a sheet of aluminum foil.
- Put the tray in the oven on the bottom shelf. (not on floor of the oven) Bake at oven temperature 180º for 10 minutes. They should be slightly golden brown when done. These are served cold and taste lovely with a sweet wine such as moscatel.
Todos los Santos in Barcelona
If you want to know a place to find delicious sweets, cakes and pastries in Barcelona, head to Casa Vives which is one of my favourites in the city centre. They have been in business since 1895 so have the recipe down…
They are located on Rambla Cataluña 58, (corner with Aragon) and will have their windows full of panellets towards the end of October. Todos los Santos is a holiday in Spain on 1st November however you can get panellets the days before and afterwards.
What do you celebrate on that weekend, Halloween or Todos los Santos ?
I use the method of my chef son, which is after cutting it in half, putting it bowl where it is covered water. Then it is relatively easy to get the seeds out without them flying all over and staining things.
With Pomegranates, we cut them in half and eat the pips with a pin or take the pips out with a pin and eat them. thats in Britain
here we eat a lot more of them so tend to scoop them out like in the video so we can use the seeds for cooking and salads, rather than just like a fruit.