For some decades, the night of October 31, it has been a tradition to celebrate Halloween in Spain. Squares and streets are filled with terrifying decorations, pumpkins on the doors of houses, people in costumes, especially children, going from house to house, knocking on doors, saying “trick or treat” and asking for candy.
However, it is true that Halloween is an American holiday that has spread internationally, but… Do you want to know the origin of celebrating Halloween in Spain? Then check out this post.
History and origin of Halloween in Spain
This holiday comes from the phrase “All Hallow’s Eve” . The aim was to celebrate Samhain (literally, end of summer), an ancient Celtic pagan festival in which the new year was celebrated. In this celebration, they thought that the door between the world of the dead and the living was opened and that both could communicate. Some rites were dedicated to the ancestors where food and sweets were left as an offering, feasts were held next to the graves, lighting candles, etc.
The tradition of dressing up also dates back to the early days of this celebration. The Celts dressed up in furs, cloth and masks during the celebrations to ward off evil spirits. Another custom to ward off evil spirits was to empty turnips and place candles inside.
Therefore, the reality is that the origin of the All Saints’ Eve holiday is not American but a Celtic tradition. Irish emigrants who traveled to America during what is known as the Great Famine of 1845 brought this holiday to the American continent, marking the end of their harvests, the arrival of cold weather and the welcoming of the new year. In short, the tradition was transferred to the United States, where it was adapted and commercialized, becoming Halloween night, as we know it today.
The legend of Jack O’Lantern
The symbol of Halloween, today, is the pumpkin and represents the illuminated face of Jack O’Lantern, an Irish farmer who was the protagonist of a popular legend whose story tells of the devil’s submission to man. According to this legend, the devil went looking for Jack, a lying farmer, who managed, twice, to swindle the devil until he never came back for his soul.
After years, Jack died and as he was rejected in heaven he had to go to hell. There, the devil, as revenge, condemned him to wander through purgatory, with an ember that would never stop burning and that Jack put in a lantern to light his way eternally.
How Halloween is celebrated in Spain: Plans for a scary time
This holiday is enjoyed by children and adults alike. The best way to celebrate this traditional holiday is with friends and family.
One of the most widespread traditions is to dress up on Halloween night. The costumes are very varied and all of them terrifying. The most frequent are skeletons, zombies, ghosts, witches or death with a sickle. The costumes become the protagonists, flooding the streets of all cities that night. This tradition of dressing up in costumes is related to the Celtic origin of the festival where masks were worn to prevent spirits from entering their homes.
Another tradition of this night that children love is the “trick or treat”, which consists of going door to door, asking for candy and saying the phrase “trick or treat”. Sometimes, if they don’t get their candy, they may do some mischief as revenge.
For the decoration of the houses, the most typical element of this night is used, the pumpkins, which are emptied, holes are made to simulate the mouth and eyes and a candle is placed inside to illuminate the house and the streets. There are also cobwebs, coffins, zombies and vampires all over the house.
Activities: parties or horror movies
Many nightclubs hold special parties where it is essential to go in costume, but if you don’t feel like going out that night, you can always celebrate Halloween with a horror movie!
We hope that now that you know how to celebrate Halloween in Spain you will have a scary night. From Españolé, we just want you to give free rein to your imagination and make your friends and family spend a terrifyingly unforgettable night.