Halloween: Spanish teaching resource

Where did the tradition of Halloween start? How long have people been celebrating it?

The answers may surprise you – the tradition started in Ireland and has been celebrated for over 2000 years! More interesting facts are revealed in our quiz. You can find it on our website.

Another fact children may find interesting is that Halloween is not traditionally celebrated in Europe, it has been introduced more recently as people have travelled and settled in other countries, bringing their own festivals with them.

The 1st November is celebrated throughout the Catholic world as el Día de Todos los Santos, or All Saints Day, to honour all the saints. Ever day of the year has its own saint or saints, but there are more saints than calendar days, and this one major holy day honors them all. It once was celebrated in May but was moved to offset the paganism of Halloween.

In Spain, the 1st November is a public holiday so shops and banks will be closed. People will use it as a day to visit cemeteries to honour the dead. There is often a Mass, held in the local cemetery, which may include silent processions. People take flowers to the cemeteries. There are many cemeteries in Spain. The majority of Spaniards are Catholic, most of whom choose burial over cremation. Cemeteries in Spain are well kept and treated with a lot of respect. In Spain this day is a celebration of the lives of those who are no longer with us.

After the visits to the cemetery the day takes on the feel of a fiesta, with a focus on food. People roast chestnuts, las castañas, and sweet potatoes, los boniatos. In Catalonia, in particular, people would also enjoy almond cakes, panelletes. The play ‘Don Juan Tenorio’ is always shown on and around this day. It is about the famous Spanish lover. The final scene is set in a cemetery when Don Juan begs the forgiveness of his late lover, Doña Inés.

You can use this Spanish tradition to start researching Catholicism and have discussions about how someone’s life can be celebrated. Make the exercise cross-curricular, there are many avenues you can follow, citizenship, PSHE, as well as MFL.

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Filed under Key Stage, Key Stage 2, Key Stage 3, Spanish, Teaching Ideas

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