27 Oct 2020
TRADITIONAL AUTUMN FESTIVITIES.- “Castanyada” and Halloween
GASTRONOMY AND OTHER IMPORTED TRADITIONS.
All Hallows’ Day, on the first of November, is a festival dedicated to the memory of our ancestors. It is originally an ancient pagan tradition celebrated all over Europe, in which the completion of all the harvests and the end of the good weather associated with the worship of the souls of deceased relatives is assimilated.
One of the most traditional customs of this celebration is the visit to the cemeteries, eating chestnuts (this is the time when the fruit is at its best to be tasted), and the preparation of the traditional “panellets”. Over time, and especially in recent decades, there has been a certain transformation of the festival. The change in mentality and the globalisation of gastronomy and traditions have led to the appearance of other models of celebration such as “Halloween”, which have contributed to turning All Hallows’ Day into a more entertaining festival.
#THE CHESTNUTTLE – La Castañada
Castanyada is a Catalan festival originally dedicated to the memory of our ancestors.
The origins are related to Christian and Pagan tradition of celebrating people who passed. Depends on the region of Spain, people treat this part of the year differently. Some historical sources say that Castañada was a time, when people who had to ring the church’s bell for many hours during the night (to remind others to pray for deceased) had to maintain their energy through eating seasonal specialties – chestnuts, sweet potatoes, marzipan candies with a finish of sweet wine.
A castañada, celebrated in Catalonia, traditionally takes place during All Saint’s Day, on November 1st, although these last years, the party has advanced to the night of October 31. Castañas (or chestnuts) are seen in heaping piles all over markets in Catalonia and neighbouring regions from mid-October to the end of December.
Castanyada for people living in Barcelona and Catalonia Country is a time for celebration. As a public holiday, locals treat these couple of days as a break from work, school and other daily obligations. Having time with family and friends, eating chestnuts roasted and drinking sweet wine with a bite of good panellet, this is the tradition nowadays.
Halloween, traditionally observed on October 31, is associated with the western world and celebrated in North America by the U.S. and Canada. It is a celebration that, with the years, they are adopting other Anglo-Saxon and European countries. A favourite holiday among children, Halloween is a fun day that encourages them to dress up in costumes, tell spine-tingling stories, and go from door to door collecting candy.
Halloween is an annual holiday that has roots in age-old European traditions. It originated with the ancient Celtic festival. In the eighth century, Pope Gregory III designated November 1 as a time to honour all saints. The evening before was known as All Hallows Eve, and later Halloween. Over time, Halloween evolved into a day of activities like trick-or-treating and carving jack-o-lanterns. Around the world, as days grow shorter and nights get colder, people continue to usher in the season with gatherings, costumes and sweet treats.
This day marked the end of summer and the harvest and the beginning of the dark, cold winter, a time of year that was often associated with human death. Celts believed that on the night before the new year, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred. On the night of October 31, they celebrated Samhain, when it was believed that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth. To commemorate the event, Druids built huge sacred bonfires, where the people gathered to burn crops and animals as sacrifices to the Celtic deities. During the celebration, the Celts wore costumes, typically consisting of animal heads and skins, and attempted to tell each other’s fortunes.
When the celebration was over, they re-lit their hearth fires, which they had extinguished earlier that evening, from the sacred bonfire to help protect them during the coming winter.
Halloween is associated with the western world and celebrated in North America by the U.S. and Canada. A favourite holiday among children, Halloween is a fun day that encourages them to dress up in costumes, tell spine-tingling stories, and go from door to door collecting candy.
Catholic festivals that commemorate martyrs and souls of the dead, such as All Saints’ Day (November 1) and All Souls’ Day (November 2), also contribute to Halloween’s associations with celebrating ghosts and spirits.
#Gastronomy and traditions in autumn.
It is time to enjoy the sweets and fruits of the season: panellets and sweet potatoes.
Sugar, yolk and almond flour are the basic ingredients to cook panellets, the traditional marzipan candies for All Saints. The most typical flavours are those of the pine nuts and almonds, but those of coffee, grated coconut and quince jelly, also a fall product, are also frequent. In the world of panellets, as it happens with many other traditional candies, innovation is non-stop and the pastry chefs create new flavours and bold combinations every year.
Either sweetened with sugar and cinnamon or as a side dish for savoury meals, sweet potatoes are one of the most versatile ingredients in the traditional fall gastronomy. They are usually served fried or baked, and there is also a recent trend to use them as a substitute of potato. As tubers, both products have a similar texture, although the sweet potato, as its names states, is slightly sweeter, which makes it possible to contrast it with salty food, such as cheese or meat.
Autumn cooking during Covid19 restrictions.
From October 27 to November 26 the ‘Chestnut Gastronomic Campaign’ takes place. It is an event with the primary objective of publicizing the chestnut product as the main ingredient in different types of dishes, whether sweet or savoury, which allows local producers to bring quality restaurants closer together. Its menu already includes dishes made with chestnuts, a product deeply rooted in this area for centuries, although in the current edition, with the restrictions, the restoration has been reinvented and restaurants have had to prepare gastronomic proposals to take home. Chestnuts, mushrooms or game meat are part of some of the ingredients that accompany different proposals on the menu of dishes. A large part of the catering sector has made a great effort to adapt to the current situation and to the different measures and restrictions that the Covid19 pandemic has caused.
In this sense, digital directories or web spaces of bars and restaurants with their own kitchen already present offers of food to take home. A fact that until now only offered gastronomic proposals such as sushi, pizza or hamburgers. Currently, the restaurant sector has found a forced exit with home delivery sets. You just have to order in advance and pick up at the restaurant or use the home delivery formula that some of the establishments have. In the home delivery option, the cut-off time is until 10 p.m., while pick-up from the same restaurant is limited to 9 p.m. to have time to return home.
With the general expansion of tourism and the consolidation of Barcelona and Catalonia as a tourist destiny in the world market, Avant Grup has managed to consolidate its position as a leader in coach transport for this sector.
Avant Grup brings guarantee, security and trust in the service. It has a wide and modern fleet of vehicles of different capacities that allow to fully enjoy all the traditions and popular festivals and to respond to all the mobility demands in the displacements and excursions that these activities generate. The current situation has also led to a demand for hygiene and health safety in travel, excursions or activities that can be organized.. Being able to accredit or certify the application of these measures gives confidence to clients and users of the service.