Here in Catalonia, All Saints’ Day and the evening before are known as the Castanyada, (’Fête de la châtaigne’ in French) meaning Day of the Chestnut.
Traditionally, ‘castanyes’ (roast chestnuts) are eaten along with ‘moniatos’ (roast sweet potatoes) and ‘panellets’ (small almond balls covered in pine nuts).
Tots Sants (All Saints’) is also known as the Dia dels Difunts (Day of the Dead); when the Catalans eat white, bone-shaped ‘ossos de sant’ cakes. Cemeteries will be busy this weekend as people visit to sprinkle the graves with holy water, leave flowers and hold vigils.
Chrysanthemums are the flower of remembrance and are on sale on every street corner. Don’t offer them to your hostess when invited out for dinner! They are for the dead
Historically, La Castanyada, celebrated on All Saints Day, was to honour saints and dead ancestors.
Whole villages would stay awake in vigil, and the church bells would ring throughout the night.
They would eat ‘castanyes’ (roast chestnuts) along with ‘moniatos,’ (roast sweet potatoes) ‘panellets’ (small almond balls covered in pine nuts) and white, bone-shaped ‘ossos de sant’ cake, sand share Muscat in ‘porrons’, glass wine pitchers with stem to pour wine into your mouth without touching lips, and avoid passing on bugs!
The traditional, high energy foods were served up to prevent them from passing out from lack of sleep and the effort of ringing the heavy bells.