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La Castanyada (Catalan pronunciation: [kas-tah-nee-ah-dah]) is a popular festival celebrated in Catalonia mainly on All Saints’ Day. In Occitania, the similar festival Castanhada is celebrated, but not on All Saints’ Day as in Catalonia. Like Halloween or the Celtic Samhain, its origins are in an ancient ritual festival of the dead.

All Saints’ Day (1 Nov) and the evening before are known as the Castanyada, after the traditional treats of castanyes (roasted chestnuts) – consumed along with moniatos (roasted sweet potatoes) andpanellets (small almond balls covered in pine nuts). The imported tradition of Halloween has grown in popularity of late, and there are now several celebrations around town. Tots Sants (All Saints’) is also known as the Dia dels Difunts (Day of the Dead); the snacks switch to white, bone-shaped ossos de sant cakes. Thousands visit local cemeteries over the weekend to sprinkle the graves with holy water, leave flowers, hold vigils, and honour and pray for the dead. Whether you want to take part in traditional Catalan festivities or slap on some scary makeup, we’ve got a line-up of things to do to enjoy the holiday.

Around the time of this celebration, it is common for street vendors to sell hot toasted chestnuts wrapped in newspaper. In many places, confectioners often organise raffles of chestnuts and preserved fruit.

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Panellets for All Saints Day

Video: © videosfrombarcelona

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