Hello friends! The day of All Saints is coming and on this occasion I want to explain you about the typical tradition of “La Castanyada”, a popular festivity that is celebrated these days in Catalonia.
Origin of “La Castanyada”
This festivity is celebrated on October 31st, traditionally performed with the chestnut picking. Some say that it began the previous night of All Saints Day in the S XVIII, where church bells ringers rang the bells all night to warn neighbours that All Saints’ Day is coming. To withstand the cold night and the long evening, the boys ringing the bells ate chestnuts and drank wine, from here comes the word “Castanyada”.
Over time this tradition was changing and currently “La Castanyada” is mainly a popular party to meet with family and friends.
Traditions and Gastronomy
Many families use to go hiking to the forest the days before the party, to pick up chestnuts and grill them on October 31st at night. The closests parks to the Maresme to find chestnuts are the Parc de Montnegre and the Parc de Montseny between Barcelona and Girona.
The tradition in these parties is to meet with family and friends to dine and eat chestnuts, roasted sweet potatoes and the famous Panellets. These candies date from the eighteenth century and are made with sugar, egg yolk and almond. Throughout the time different recipes of Panellets have been introduced, using different fruits and flavors.
The typical drink for these celebration is Moscatel, a dry and tasty wine, perfect for the cold days.
The protagonist of this tradition is La Castanyera (Chestunts woman). It is the character that symbolizes the tradition of “La Castanyada” and is represented with the figure of an old woman in its street stall making chestnuts. This figure is currently on the streets during these dates. It is very common to see men and women in their stalls selling cones of roasted chestnuts.
It is also very typical of the Castanyada that on the schools the little ones disguise themselves of “Castanyers”, they make their own Panellets and they also sing and dance the typical song of the Castanyera.
Apart from celebrating La Castanyada, on November 1st, a visit to the cemetery of each locality is usually made to celebrate All Saints Day.
“La Castanyada” in Calella
In some towns La Castanyada is celebrated with different activities for families and children.
This year, Calella celebrates the popular festival on Tuesday 31 October from 18:00 to 24:00, it will take place in the Plaza de la Iglesia and there will be a multitude of activities and workshops for children. The day will be accompanied by music to dance and have fun. There will also be chestnut sale in many parts of Calella.