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Autumn has finally arrived in Sitges and, to be honest, we are very happy about it. The temperatures are lower, but not so much that we have to stay at home under a blanket (although it would not be such a bad option).
The trees bring out their warmer colours and the ingredients that we love are back in the menus of every restaurant and every home: mushrooms, squash, sweet potatoes, chestnuts, etc. It is also the season of the year when the "Castanyada" and / or Halloween is celebrated. Which one do you prefer?
Tradition says that, in Catalunya, the "Castanyada" is celebrated the night of October 31 (the night of all saints). This means that families and / or friends gather - if possible, near a fireplace - to eat toasted chestnuts, sweet potatoes and panellets (or sweets of all saints), accompanying everything with sweet wine. But where does this tradition come from? Its origin is found at the end of the 18th century. There are those who talk about funeral banquets in which this type of food was served.
However, there are those who attribute the origin of this tradition to the bell ringers, who had to spend the night of all saints awake to ring the bells of the towns. This was a hard task which, as we have said, required to stay awake the whole night, and this is why they needed food that would provide them enough energy and would help them survive the cold. There are opinions for all tastes, so you can choose the version that you prefer.
However, the truth is that more and more people choose to celebrate Halloween. This festivity has its origin in the Celtic festival Samhain (about 2,000 years ago). The Celts believed that on the night of October 31, the deceased returned to earth and, among other things, people dressed as ghosts to go out the street, so that the spirits thought they were one of them. The legend tells that during the night of October 31 the door between living and the spiritual world was open. Ghosts used the chance to roam freely between both worlds. People used turnips full of burning coal as lanterns to guide the souls of deceased relatives and scare away the evil spirits. Children played an important role on this ceremony. They were in charge of collecting all kinds of objects from the houses that were later offered to the gods through a ritual officiated by the druids. Human and animal sacrifices were an important element of this celebration as well as offerings in the form of food.
Later, in the 8th century, this festival was renamed by the Catholic Church as "All Saints" or "All Hallows" and therefore "All Hallows Eve", for the previous night, which evolved to "Halloween". Nowadays, children go out dressed up, they do the famous "trick or treat" to get sweets, and adults attend fancy dress parties or watch horror movies, along with many other activities.
Halloween is now one of the most important days on the calendar, and one of the most popular celebrations of the 21st century. The current version comes from the United States and has been exported to the rest of the world, regardless of the religious or pagan character it might have had at the beginning.
As we said, this is one of the most famous celebrations around the world and, despite not being a tradition from our own country, it has had a good reception. Sitges can't stay behind, especially considering we have the International Fantastic Film Festival of Catalonia and the Sitges Zombie Walk in October. Events that invite us to continue with the horror theme, so characteristic of this tradition. This means that there are many restaurants that offer special menus and special nights of fear, and many clubs that offer discounts to people who go dressed up with costumes on the night of the 31st.
But why celebrate only one thing, when you can do both? Come with your family or friends to any of our apartments in Sitges and spend a fantastic day and evening celebrating both traditions. You can start decorating pumpkins, stop to eat chestnuts and panellets, and end up watching scary movies or going out to chase zombies around Sitges. Do you dare to come?