Why is November 1 so important in Spain?

by Lorraine Williamson
November 1

On Tuesday, November 1, Spain celebrates ‘Día de Todos los Santos’, or All Saints‘ Day. Although this religious holiday is celebrated in many countries, in Spain it is a national holiday and one of the most important days of the year. But why is that? 

Throughout Spain, All Saints Day is a national holiday on which all Spaniards are free. This is such a well-known day in Spain. However, not everyone knows exactly what is celebrated or commemorated during All Saints’ Day. This Catholic tradition concerns a religious festival in memory of all saints (hence ‘todos los santos’) and the deceased. 

All Saints’ Day deeply rooted in Spanish culture 

This holiday is one of the most traditional in all of Spain and is celebrated every year on November 1. It is celebrated among others by Roman Catholics and Anglicans. The importance of All Saints’ Day is deeply rooted in Spanish culture, which is why it is a national holiday throughout Spain. 

This day is intended to commemorate the crossing of the deceased into the afterlife as they face eternal life and are reunited with God. In addition to this Biblical meaning, many Spaniards often visit the grave of their loved ones on November 1 to honor them with many coloured flowers. The more beautifully and lavishly the grave is decorated, the greater the prestige of the deceased. 

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Traditions during All Saints Day in Spain 

In the days leading up to November 1, the graves are often cleaned and flower shops have a decent turnover. Panellets, biscuits made from almond flour and pine nuts, or desserts such as Huesos de Santo, are also typical dishes during All Saints Day in Spain. 

On November 2, ‘Día de Muertos or Día de Difuntos’, or All Souls’ Day, is celebrated. Yet this is more known in other Spanish-speaking countries, such as Mexico, than in Spain itself. Unlike All Saints’ Day, All Souls’ Day is not an official holiday in Spain. 

Also read: Halloween – All Saints´Day – All Souls Day

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