However, it was not always in this way. When I was a child, if I had seen a boy in a Frankestein costume on the 31st of October I would have thought that he had lost his mind. By contrast, nowadays that boy would be the freak one if he didn’t put on that costume.
How do Spaniards celebrate this days? And, what about Mexican and other Latin American countries? Let’s see the biggest differences.
In Spain, we celebrate the 1st of November in a very restrained way. We call this day El día de todos los santos (All saints’ day). On the contrary, Mexican’s festivity is called El día de los muertos (The Day of the Dead) and their mood during this day is very different.
Halloween is a Celt tradition to celebrate the end of la cosecha (harvest), when the living and dead were joined. On the other hand, El día de todos los santos was in May originally, and later, changed to November by the Catholic Church in order to avoid pagan festivities. Catholics commemorated the persecution of Christians by Diocleciano. In Mexico, this tradition comes before Columbus arrival. People used to collect skulls to honour dead.
In English-speaking countries, kids go from house to house shouting “trick or treat” (truco o trato) and the homeowners give them sweets. People often carve pumpkins in order to chase away bad spirits. In Spain, families go together to the cemetery to visit their dead relatives and they bring them flowers, sometimes in a sad mood. In Mexico they also offer flowers and candles to their relatives in altars. They decorate their houses colorfully and they spend the day in happiness.
Dulces (sweets), caramelos (candies) and manzanas caramelizadas (caramel apples) are wished by children. In Spain we can taste huesos de santos (saints’ bones), castañas asadas (roasted chestnuts) or buñuelos de viento (nun’s pufs). In Mexico, the most famous one is el pan de muerto (bread of dead), a kind of bread, decorated with pieces of bread in a form of bones.
Wherever you live, the three festivities offer you cultural experiences. On www.spanishviaskype.com we also offer you Spanish cultural and social contents, besides grammar and vocabulary. Try our Spanish for Different Levels Course, and you will not only speak Spanish but also be living Spanish language. Reserve a free trial lesson via Skype now: está de muerte (it’s out of this world).