How is Halloween celebrated in Spain? (El Día de las Brujas / La Noche de los Muertos)

Any excuse for a fiesta in Spain, and Halloween is by no means an exception. After spending an unforgettable weekend in Madrid during the Halloween celebrations a few years ago here is my account of how Halloween is celebrated in Spain.

How did Halloween come about in Spain?

Halloween is more popular in the north of Spain due to ancestral links with celtic ancestors who arrived in this region around 3,000 years ago. Despite mixing with the indigenous Iberian culture, a great interest came about in holidays and celebrations imported from the Celtic world.

How do they celebrate Halloween in Spain?

Although Halloween is still a relatively new phenomenon in Spain, the Spanish people go all out for celebrating it to the maximum as with any kind of fancy dress festival. You will see many more people dressed up in outrageous costumes and parading the streets in larger groups than you would ever see in England. It is more popular in the north of Spain and celebrated much more in larger cities where you are bound to be invited to a costume party or see posters advertising them everywhere. Most shops and cafes have baskets of treats outside for trick or treaters.
Along Galicia’s northern coast it is traditional to carve pumpkins, light bonfires and consume “quemadas” fire water infused with herbs – claimed to be an ancient drink originating from the Celtic people a symbolic act to burn off bad luck and the negative energy associated with Halloween.

Halloween-related vocabulary

costume – el disfraz
devil – el diablo
ghost – el fantasma
magic – la magia
mask – la máscara
pumpkin – la calabaza
skeleton – el esqueleto
spell – el hechizo
spider – la araña
sweets – los caramelos / los dulces
trick or treat – truco o trato
vampire – el vampiro
witch – la bruja
wizard – el brujo

If you would like to learn some useful Spanish to get the most out of a trip to Spain during Halloween or any festival in Spain, don’t hesitate to contact us via the website or call Fiona on 01733 759934 / 07870 699404

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