Friday, November 1, 2013

Halloween and All Saints Day

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!! Or All Saints Day since I am technically a day late. Smile Halloween has always been one of my favorite holidays growing up. I love to make my own costumes and go out with friends. And of course CANDY!

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In Spain, Halloween is not as big as it is in the states, but it is gaining popularity. I remember my first year in Almeria celebrating with the kids being very surprised that no one was dressed as a princess or an astronaut or anything that wasn’t covered in blood. They take their scary costumes very seriously here!

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This is me and one of my first grade classes in Campohermoso on Halloween!
This year in my School we had a pretty traditional Halloween for the kids. They all dressed up, played games, went trick-or-treating, and even were able to carve pumpkins! Which are relatively hard to come by here in Spain. It was very funny how grossed out they got trying to take the seeds out of the pumpkins. None of them were excited about having to use their hands. That was always one of my favorite parts! I was smart enough to sneak in a plastic bag to take some seeds home to roast.

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My 4 and 5 year olds (Cell phone pic, sorry!)
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Love her face! So excited to have her hand in a pumpkin
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At night the young people do what they do in the US. Go out to the center and hang out. The kids still trick-or treat. They can stay out as late as they want because November 1st is a national holiday!
Being a Catholic country, the Saints are very important here. Each one has their own day and people receive gifts when it is their Saint’s day. It’s almost more important than birthdays! So, All Saints Day is obviously the most important.


 This day is surprisingly low key for Spain, which is known for it’s big festivals. Today is all about honoring and remembering departed loved ones. All the city cemeteries are open and families gather there to decorate and leave flowers on the graves. Walking though the city this morning the only stores that were open were the flower shops and they were very crowded with people buying huge flower displays.
After visiting the cemeteries and maybe staying for the masses that are performed throughout the day the families spend the rest of the day together. Of course there is food involved! Since it is finally fall weather (at least here in Valencia), roasted chestnuts are a very common snack today. Also, a sweet with a strange name is popular. Huesos de Santos, literally called Saint’s bones, are a marzipan tube filled with a sweet egg yolk custard. They are delicious, as long as you don’t think about what they are actually called.