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Monday, 31 October 2011


All Saints' Day is a feast day celebrated on 1st November. The first thing you will notice are the graveyards to be unusually full of flowers. The Spaniards remember their dearly departed on All Saints' Day and bring flowers to the graves and pray for them.

Although Spain's celebration of Halloween is having strong draft in the past few years, there is a very traditional celebration in this country whose date coincides with All Souls' Day and is the theatrical representation of Don Juan Tenorio (the very famous and mythical character from which so many versions have been made) that takes place during the first week of November.

Don Juan Tenorio performed by Errol Flynn

and another version performed by Johnny Depp in Don Juan di Marco

The story is based on a book written by Jose Zorrilla in 1844. And it chronicles the adventures of Don Juan Tenorio, a young gentleman delivered to a wild life of gambling, womanizing and duels. The beginning of the plot is actually a bet between him and another young man to see who will do more harm in a year. This fact triggers another bet most outlandish if possible that consists of Don Juan to get to seduce a young novice, Ines, and the fiancee of the other young man. Don Juan is getting everything that he has proposed very skillfully, but each time his soul gets lost more and more. At the end of the play he must literally face his ghosts and only the love that the young Inés feels for him will be able to save him to perish eternally in hell.
But what is the real origin of the custom of this theatrical celebration of Don Juan Tenorio the eve of All Saints’ Day? A review of the history and tradition tells us that the representations were not unusual in funerals services. In Greek and Roman times the origins of the theater were the religious rites of representation. And in Spain and elsewhere in Europe there were the 17th allegorical religious play. They were liturgical forms which are held in the church, but that little by little after the clergy grow and a liturgy for clergy is created, they are pushed into the porch of the church first, and then away from it. Inevitable, because the story increasingly grows being too profane and scurrilous to be inserted in the sacred drama, and they are incompatible with the dignity of the temple.

The processions of the dead in the name of this day to bury the unburied dead (usually executed exposed to the entrance of the village to notice and warning residents and outsiders), with all the paraphernalia that accompanied them, including some dances with skulls, had a dramatic deep-rooted.

In ancient Rome there were sang the glories of the deceased and extolled their virtues. This drama was part of the funeral, which was one of great intensity: the chorus of mourners paid, the more numerous the higher the status of the deceased, who accompanied the funeral procession of pain screaming, demanding the return of the deceased, clawing at their faces, tearing their hair, tearing clothes and writhing. And the great Roman families offered to people within the funeral of their dead, the representation of a play, usually a moral one.

So to mix All Saints’ Day with theatre was nothing new. And that is why Don Juan Tenorio drama permeated so deeply, besides part of the drama unfolds in the cemetery.

And this is the reason this play keeps on to be performed in Spain every year during this date. Anyway, I wish a Happy Halloween to all visitors, friends and followers of  Sangria, Sol y Siesta!

¿Truco o trato?
(trick or treat?)

and the sweet thing about All Saints' Day:
Saints'  Bones.......... and Saints' Buñuelos!



  1. También con nosotros es Helouvin cada vez más extendida. Hace unos años no lo era. La memoria de los fallecidos aún se mantiene. Siempre lleno de flores, velas, coronas de flores. Es similar. Le deseamos un buen día Peter.

  2. Hello and Happy Halloween! Czechs keep up on their cemeteries on All Saints Day as well, but do not celebrate Halloween. Here in Ohio - it's all trick or treat tonight :)

  3. Petr, I can notice then that our both countries celebrates All Saints' Day and Halloween in the same way, half seriously and half having fun. Have a nice day and all my prayers for your mother,

  4. Hi Ivanhoe! In your country it is the same as in Spain, really and now we celebrate it in both ways. Have a very Happy Halloween! And be very careful jejejeje!

  5. I really found your post interesting,now I know about Don Juan! Nice photos too,Happy Halloween Nieves! lol Angela

  6. Just fascinating - I had no idea about the connection. Thank you for linking this to Post Of The Month Club! Wishing you a lovely All Saints Day. XoLaura

  7. Oh those donuts look awesome! I've never tried huesos de santo though... or maybe I have around Christmas time actually!

  8. Angela, I am glad you liked the post and you have known something more about this Don Juan character. Happy All Saints' Day to you!

  9. Laura, thanks for your comment, it was a pleasure to link the post for the Post of the Month Club! Happy All Saints' Day to you too!

  10. Spanishsabores, if you live in Madrid at the moment I encourage you to try and enjoy los huesos de santo and los buñuelos de viento, for example, in La Mallorquina pastry shop. Some people think los huesos de santo are a bit too sweet but they are very popular in this feast, and definitely my favourite are the buñuelos, you have them in many flavours, really yummy all of them! Happy All Saints' Day!

  11. This celebration is a business for some people, and sad for others who have loved ones in a place where they will never see again.

    Don Juan Tenorio is a character based on a romance novel but there are many womanizer like him in reality.

    This is the most bitter day of the year, Halloween is not spanish, it's all business and now I think that with the crisis all these parties must be restricted and not being held in our country.


Welcome and thank you very much for taking the time to leave the gift of your comment. Have a nice day!

Bienvenido y muchas gracias por dejarme el regalo de tu comentario. ¡Que tengas un gran dia!

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