Spanish All Saints Day is the perfect occasion to remember the people who are no longer with us. Spain is popular for celebrating different and unique feasts all over the year. Are you curious how All Saints Day is celebrated in Spain? I have tried to gather all the information related to the occasion and tried to explain them in this article.
What is All Saints Day and why do we celebrate it?
All Saints Day is a special occasion when Christians remember and honor all saints, both known and unknown, who are no longer among us. Saints are those people who have gained exceptional knowledge on religious matters and are considered to be close to God.
Joan D. Chittister, a Benedictine Sister of Erie, explained Saints:
“For centuries the church has confronted the human community with role models of greatness. We call them saints when what we really often mean to say is ‘icon,’ ‘star,’ ‘hero,’ ones so possessed by an internal vision of divine goodness that they give us a glimpse of the face of God in the center of the human. They give us a taste of the possibilities of greatness in ourselves.”
Every year on the 1st of November, all the Churches celebrate this day and pray for all the saints. It is a respectful way to honor the deceased. These are the reasons why all saints day is celebrated around the globe.
However, the day is celebrated slightly differently in Spain. Below I have explained more about Spanish All Saints Day.
What is All Saints Day in Spain?
“We understand death only after it has placed its hands on someone we love.” – Anne L. de Stael
There’s a famous saying, “Man is mortal.” We all have lost or will lose some people who are close to us. When we do, we understand their value. Then we pray for them that God may reward them in heaven. Even I pray regularly for the people I lost.
All Saints Day in Spain is a special holiday when people remember and honor their deceased relatives. They remember not only the saints but also everyone they have known and loved. Every year on November 1, people in Spain gather in cemeteries with fresh flowers. The day is also known as “Día de Todos Los Santos” in Spain.
Who celebrates All Saints’ Day?
Usually, Christians all around the globe celebrate the Day. Even many Catholics believe they must celebrate the day as Saints are holy beings. Churches arrange different programs and visit cemeteries to pray for the Saints. In Spain, however, everyone celebrates this special occasion.
To celebrate the day, you do not need to be a Christian. Wouldn’t we remember the moments spent together and love to honor them? If yes, then whether a Christian or not, we all can celebrate All Saints Day on the 1st of November every year.
Why is November 1 All Saints Day?
I have wondered why is November 1 All Saints Day? Well, I have found out that the exact reason to celebrate the feast on the 1st of November is unknown. Different sources tell different stories. Earlier in the 4th century, most of the countries used to celebrate All Saints Day on 13th May.
According to one source, Pope Gregory III dedicated an oratory at Old St. Peter’s Basilica on November 1. This is why the day is celebrated on this day. A Scholar from the 12th century commented it was Pope Gregory VII who favored 1st November to celebrate All Saints Day.
Whatever the reason is, Spain celebrates the Day on 1st November at present. They follow some unique traditions on this day which are pretty interesting.
How do they celebrate All Saints’ Day in Spain?
So, how do people in Spain celebrate All Saints Day? What are the traditions? Well, this day is important to everyone in the country. Below I have explained more on how they celebrate All Saints Day in Spain:
Spanish All Saint’s Day traditions
People all over the country gather in their local cemeteries with families to show respect and honor to the departed relatives. People usually start with cleaning the tombstones of their loved ones. They often decorate them with fresh flowers. Some only visit with bouquets and pray for them. The whole cemetery usually gets flooded with flowers, and the view is eye soothing.
A traditional play, “Don Juan Tenorio,” is performed in Spain on the 1st of November every year. It’s a classic romantic play written by José Zorrilla. The story focuses on the love story of Don Juan and Doña Inés. I would recommend you to watch the play on All Saints Day in Spain. If you can not wait for 1st November, then you can buy Don Juan Tenorio from Amazon. You also can buy The All Saints’ Day Party for your kids.
Roasted chestnuts are a very popular snack in Spain on All Saints Day. Besides, many people also love to eat buñelos de viento. It is a dough fritter usually filled with custard and cream. Some believe that when you eat one, it releases a soul from purgatory.
All Saints Day vs. All Souls Day vs. Halloween
All Saints Day is associated with two more special days. Many people celebrate these three days one after another. Together the days are known as “Allhallowtide.”
The first one is Halloween’s eve on 31st October evening. Then the All Saints Day falls on the second day, which is November 1. And lastly, All Souls day is celebrated worldwide on 2nd November.
What is the difference between all saints and All Souls Day?
All Souls Day is the day when people remember all the souls who have departed. It includes the souls of general people, martyrs, and everyone else. Similar to All Saints Day, All Souls Day also originated from Christianity.
The difference between these two days is that All Saints Day is dedicated to the saints who have passed away. On the other hand, All Souls Day is celebrated to honor all faithful who have departed, not only for remembering the saints.
Is All Saints Day the same as Halloween?
People celebrate Halloween on the evening before All Saints Day to remember all the dead souls, including saints, relatives, faithful, martyrs, and others. All Saints Day is not the same as Halloween, but they are connected. Halloween is the inaugural of “Allhallowtide.” That’s why Halloween is also known as “All Saints Eve.”
You may also want to celebrate All Saints Day on 1st November. The people may no longer be with us, but their memories will live forever.
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