Sunday, November 4, 2012

Of Pumpkins and Panellets

If you live in the U.S., you celebrated Halloween last week, but if you live in Barcelona, you celebrated both Halloween AND All Saints' Day. Two fun holidays back to back! Although to be fair, Halloween is not quite as big a thing here as it is in the U.S. You don't generally see kids dressed up in costumes or going door to door trick or treating. Here it seems that Halloween is more for the young adults who dress up in macabre outfits and hit the clubs. But given that Halloween is not a Spanish holiday and certainly not a Catalan holiday, I was kind of surprised by how much it has taken root here.  You can buy pumpkins at any grocery store or fruit stand,  you see jack-o-lanterns and spider webs in store windows, and you can bet that any party supply store will have a hundred or so different costumes for little ones and older ones alike.   

However, I feel that for most Catalans, Halloween is merely a warm up for the holiday that really matters, All Saints' Day, or la Castanyada, celebrated on the first of November. This is a day that is all about honoring and remembering the dead. Some people go to mass and others go to cemeteries to visit their loved ones. And because all holidays must be commemorated with food, on All Saint's Day people eat sweet potatoes, roasted chestnuts which are sold on many street corners, and panellets which are little balls of marzipan covered with pine nuts.  

The Professor and I did our very best to celebrate both holidays. In recognition of Halloween, we bought pumpkins and decorated our house with spooky decor. We also dressed the little one up for Halloween. But, because trick or treating is not done here, no one actually saw him in his costume except us. We debated taking him out in his costume (after all we paid 12 Euro for it and plus he looked SO cute we wanted to show him off) but we thought it might be a little strange with him being the only baby dressed up. Wouldn't it seem that we were flaunting our Americanness?  So in the end, we stayed home with our dressed up little, eating panellets and trying (for the very first time in our lives!) some roasted chestnuts.  In future years, this holiday will be known as the great pumpkin/panellet compromise.  Hope you guys had a fun week! :)

P.S. Here's a shot of the little one in his first Halloween costume!  Don't you just want to gobble him up?  

1 comment:

  1. Love the costume =)

    Don't forget to include the witch boot salt and pepper shakers in this years décor!