Roots of the traditions associated with this celebration in Spain, regarding the day of all saints. Attractions Madrid on Halloween.
Perhaps the first thing that comes to our minds when hearing the word “Halloween” is pumpkins, costumes, ghosts, skulls, candy and especially the United States. Well, in any case, we’d be somehow right, since all of the above elements are the necessary ingredients for a good celebration of All Saints Day or, as is known in most Anglo-Saxon countries, the feast of Halloween.[… +]
What we know today as Halloween is the result of a series of traditions and celebrations that were already happening since ancient times, that has been incorporating new elements in its long existence to adapt itself to new societies and their habits.
You might be wondering how this holiday is celebrated in Spain. Well, on November 1 there is a tradition to visit the cemetery and clean the graves of loved ones who passed away, leave fresh flowers on the graves and remove weeds that grow around. However, it is to say that this “day of the dead” as it is popularly known, is, above all, an excuse to bring the family together around their memories and a good meal.
“Huesos de santo”, “buñuelos de viento”, “panellets”, “donuts of anise”, roasted potatoes, “arrop i tallaets” typical of Alicante, “borrachitos” in Andalusia, “Rosaris” in Mallorca, “pestiños” in Jaen or “migas de niño” in Castilla-La-Mancha are some of the appetizing desserts you can find in Spain on the eve of this unique festival. In addition, there is a fruit that is especially important these days and stay with us during all the winter, the chestnuts. Roasted at the stake, they’re served with honey or milk and accompanied with muscat wine, a sweet typical combination of all the peninsular East. The fire is also a protagonist these days, and it is common to jump the flames or smudge the face with the ashes, a custom that is repeated on summer in the famous bonfires of San Juan, following the trail of superstition and thus spinning the Mexican rites.
There are many Spanish towns hosting “magic” rituals such as Jaen, where people take to the streets with casseroles in hand and close the locks to prevent the assault of their homes of evil spirits. Other cities also join these “vigils”, adorning the streets with candles to indicate the way to the wandering souls, playing music and dancing or singing in group.
In a country of such cultural diversity, there are also encounters less liturgical that take place outdoors, as happens in the case of Ceuta and Benacazón, celebrating this day out into the field carrying a bag of fruits and nuts to escape the stupor that produces this holiday.
Halloween in Madrid 2016
In Madrid you can find many of these customs, because there are people from all over Spain living here. Moreover, there are a variety of themed activities for people of all ages. Here are some activities you’ll find this week to pass a scary and funny Halloween!
- Theaters: Some offer shows with the theme of Halloween, as the Bodevil theater with its “Dinner of the Damned” or the Horror Circus at Casa de Campo.
- Thematic city tours: A good time to visit the main cemeteries in the city such as San Isidro and Almudena, or wander through hidden places in the city where hear EVP with Night of the Spirits. As if Halloween was not scary enough, what about sleeping in a cemetery? This is the proposal that offers the Cementerio de las Ánimas, a complex of terror located near Toledo.
- Cinema: The Círculo de Bellas Artes will offer throughout the weekend the cycle “Night of Wolves”, with several horror related films.
- Nightlife: If your thing is going out, in Madrid Halloween can be an exciting night. Most bars and clubs offer nightly theme parties from Thursday until Sunday. Just wander through the main party areas near the center of the city and you’ll find a surprising place.
Halloween in Madrid 2017
This year we also have a lot of attractions in Madrid related to the Halloween party, for all tastes, ages and budgets. You can also find two events in our Cultural Program TANDEM in which we will take our students to spend a fun time: The Madrid of the Ghosts and Route of altars of Madrid. Some event suggestions for this year:
- The Madrid’s Theme Park will offer a full program of attractions, dining and entertainment for children and adults. Warner Park will also offer a similar program.
- The Addams Family: a fun musical comedy based on the famous classic of cinema. Ideal for people of any age and great to enjoy with the family. From October 5, 2017 to March 25, 2018 at the Teatro Calderón (Calle Atocha, 18).
- Enigmatium: a complete party, which includes dinner with open bar and shows for 3 hours, surprises and gifts. To find the place you have to follow the clues indicated by the organizers, what completes the mysterious atmosphere of the event.
- Halloween Madrid Movie, treasure hunt: Have fun in the center of Madrid overcoming the goals proposed by a team of zombies. There are 12 tests with horror themes in which you can test your genius and have fun with a large group of people.
- A trip to the forsaken Madrid: A selection from Timeout.es of some abandoned places in Madrid, which were important and monumental sites in the past. A program for restless and courageous tourists who want to get to know a little bit of Madrid’s history in a terrifying atmosphere.
As you may have guessed, “Halloween” is just the remote term of a tradition that already existed in these lands before the American films have brought us the famous “trick or treat”. But since we started to celebrate it in Spain as is done in the United States, any excuse is good to have fun. Beyond the costumes and laughter, it is also a time to remember that life is short and we must enjoy it.
This article is also available in Spanish.