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15 Oct · alleventshotels · No Comments

“La castanyada”, the Catalan autumn festival

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“La castanyada”, the Catalan autumn festival

“La Castanyada” is one of the most beautiful traditional Catalan festivities

There are many festivals around the world, celebrate the season of autumn as a tribute to the finitude nature that offers its deciduous leaves in return for allowing its rebirth in the spring. Parties such as Halloween, in the Anglo-Saxon countries, or the Day of the Dead in Mexico, refer to the finitude of human life and the veneration and gratitude of the ancestors.

But in Catalonia, a party is celebrated during the fall, and specifically, on October 31, which reflects the tradition of family reunion and the preparation for the next day of tribute and remembrance of the deceased, All Saints’ Day (November 1st). In Catalonia the “Castanyada” is celebrated, the Catalan popular festival of autumn.

Its origin we should look for in ancient rituals related to pagan cults, some of them linked to funerary rituals and others to rituals of gratitude for the harvest. They have found references from the Roman period that collect parties harvesting the chestnut, which was already consumed in the Neolithic era. With the Romans, their plantation and consumption were consolidated, so the chestnut was consumed as a dried fruit or in ground form as flour.

Among the stories that are told about its most current origin, it is said that on the eve of All Saints’ Day, the bell ringers of the towns had to ring the bells throughout the night. For that reason, they needed high energy foods. The chestnut, accompanied by sweet potatoes and the most recent “panellets” (which are not a fruit but a dessert made with flour, potato, almond, sweet potato, and several sweets) served them for this purpose to endure all night with that harsh tradition.

Catalan festivals of autumn

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Whether or not this is the origin of the “Castanyada”, the truth is that nowadays, the Catalans continue to meet as a family on the eve of All Saints, and consume those same foods, chestnuts, sweet potatoes and “panellets”, bathed in muscatel wine. Knowing the Catalan tradition of the Castanyada is possible even today in many Catalan homes, but increasingly, the Halloween party is present in our populations, although in many cases, there is a peaceful coexistence of the two traditions.

Autumn traditions in Catalonia focus on the festival of “Castanyada”, there are several towns that organize a common “Castanyada” in central squares to celebrate the Catalan festival of “Castanyada” with the whole town.

chestnuts ready for sale
Roast Chestnuts In A Pan

Autumn traditions in Catalonia focus on the festival of “Castanyada”, there are several towns that organize a common “Castanyada” in central squares to celebrate the Catalan festival of “Castanyada” with the whole town.

Chestnuts, sweet potatoes and “panellets” are the main foods of the party


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