All Saints’ Day is a Catholic holiday celebrated in honour of all the saints. In Western Christianity, it is celebrated on 1 November. The story of this day tells that the early Church pointed out a common day to venerate the death of all martyrs. Little by little, it was added those dead people who were named saints. This occurred until this day was fixed as a feast, in which the death of the deceased was honoured. The day is also linked to the “Day of the Dead” holiday in Mexico and “Halloween,” which has been spread throughout the major part of the world (although this last one has no longer religious connotations).

Before Halloween was adopted by the major part of the country, All Saints’ Day was a very important celebration in Spain. During this day, Spanish families were formally dressed up and they went to the cemetery to visit their deceased. Today, these customs and traditions has still a current value in Spain, although with the arrival of Halloween it has lost power.

As for gastronomic customs, during the holidays in Salamanca it is typical to eat the well-known as “huesos de santo” or “buñuelos de viento”, in the shape of a ball. “Huesos de santo” are desserts made with marzipan (almond paste), originally filled with sweet yolk. On the other hand, the “buñuelos de viento” are sweets made with wheat flour, butter and eggs. Once fried in hot oil, they are sprinkled with sugar. According to some legend when you eat one of this cakes, a soul is saved from Purgatory.

As it is another typical tradition these days, florists from all over Salamanca get also prepared for this festivity. In ancient times, since the deceased could not be embalmed, they gave off a strong stench. That is why they were covered with flowers, which aromatized the atmosphere and made the act of holding a vigil for the deceased more pleasant. Over the years, this custom has endured and it is customary to bring flowers to the cemetery during All Saints Day.

There are many who decide to celebrate both Halloween and All Saints’ Day in a Salamanca filled with a mixture of customs and traditions. That is why we should be grateful for the presence of young people from all over the world who come to study at the University of Salamanca.

If you want to enjoy our mix of cultures and feel at home, come and study Spanish at Interlenguis. With our Culture and Literature course you will enjoy sharing with us.