By Becca Justinger, University at Buffalo
In Barcelona they have a tradition that occurs on the same day as Halloween back in the States, and it is called la castanyada. I was fortunate to learn first hand all about the tradition and its history from some of my students as I was able to tell them all about Halloween! The legend says that there is an old woman who dresses up in all black and hands out the traditional food. Catanyas, moniatos, and panellets which are roasted chestnuts, sweet potatoes and panellets are these small sweet balls which are made with sugar and potato and usually decorated with pine nuts or anything imaginable. I tried the chestnuts that many vendors were selling on the side of the streets. I wouldn’t say it was my favorite snack in the world and it looked like a brain. I thought that was very appropriate for the holiday season. My host mom also bought me some coconut panellets to try.
This is a holiday that’s shared at home with family. On November first (which is all saints day) the families will go to put fresh flowers on the graves of family members whom they have lost. They do not celebrate Halloween here but that didn’t stop me and my American friends from enjoying a little piece of home. I dressed up as Minnie mouse because as most of you know I love Disney! Although I didn’t get any candy which was quite the bummer.