History of All Saints' Day on November 1

Every year, the first day of the month of November in Spain we commemorate All Saints' Day. It is very likely that on some occasion you have asked yourself why this is so. Although over the years in Spain more and more people commemorate the American holiday of 'Halloween', in our country the Catholic party is this. We tell you the story

History of All Saints' Day

The primitive Church, as happens now, celebrated the anniversary of the death of a martyr (or a group of them) on the day of his death in the place of martyrdom. However, in the Great Persecution of Diocletian the number of martyrs became so great that one day could not be separated for each. Therefore, and understanding that each martyr should be venerated, one day was established for all of them: whether they were known or not.


Why on November 1?

However, not always All Saints Day has fallen on the same date: it was not until the eighth century when Pope Gregory III fixed it on November 1 in response to the pagan celebration of Samhain (the Celtic New Year), It was celebrated on the night of October 31. It was Pope Gregory IV who, in the ninth century, extended this Christian feast to the whole Church.

The traditions in the Feast of All Saints

November 1 is a very marked date on our calendar, and as such is covered by different traditions. The most widespread is the visit to cemeteries: as November 2 honor the deceased, it is tradition to visit them and bring flowers to their graves, while praying in front of them for the souls of our deceased relatives.


For these times, the cemeteries are decorated: not only the relatives visit their families on November 1st and 2nd, but often they go before to leave the tombstones as arranged as possible, which also makes a walk through these Places prove very nice.

Another tradition of this era is more pagan: the theater. In many theaters and even cemeteries the work of 'Don Juan Tenorio', written by José Zorrilla, is usually represented. It is one of the great literary expressions of the Spanish myth of Don Juan, and its final act takes place precisely on the Night of All Saints.

The sweets of the feast of All Saints

As a good 'party' worth its salt, these days are characterized by typical sweets. From those made with nuts of the time such as chestnuts, to others that could really be made at any time of the year but which, in general, are only enjoyed these days.


.-Fritters: It is a fried dough filled with cream, chocolate, cream, chantillí or coffee that has the shape of a ball.

.-Panellets. They are made with a sweet dough made with sugar, raw ground almonds, lemon zest and egg. They are usually covered with egg white and a layer of pine nuts is placed on it.

-The bones of saint. Marzipan dough in the shape of one-finger thick tubes that, after cooking with syrup, turn beige.

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