INTRODUCTIONThe Castanyada is a popular Catalan festival, celebrated on31th October. It consists of a meal of chesnuts, panallets,sweet potatoes and preserved fruits, typicallywith moscatell (sweat wine) to drink.The festival is usuallydepicted with the figure ofa castanyera: an old lady,dressed in peasants clothingand wearing a headscarf, satbehind a table, roastingchestnuts for street sale.
ORIGINSLike Halloween, its origins are in anancient ritual festival of the dead.It seems that the tradition of eatingthese foods comes from the fact thatduring All Saints’ night, the nightbefore All Souls’ Day inthe Christian tradition, bellringers would ring bells incommemoration of the dead into theearly morning. Friends and relativeswould help with this task, andeveryone would eat these foods forsustenance.
NOWADAYSIn recent years, the Castanyada has becomea revetlla of All Saints and is celebrated in the home andcommunity. It is the first of the four main school festivals,alongside Christmas, Carnival and St. Geroge’s Day,without reference to ritual or commemoration of the dead.
TRADITIONS• 1st of November we eat a sweet thing called panellets (no translation available, in literal English "little breadies"). They are in fact marzipan balls coated with pine kernels or smashed almonds.• Around the time of this celebration, it is common for street vendors to sell hot toasted chestnuts wrapped in newspaper. In many places, confectioners often organise raffles of chestnuts and preserved fruit.
RITUALSSome versions of the story state that the Castanyadaoriginates at the end of the 18th century and comes fromthe old funeral meals, where other foods, suchas vegetables and dried fruit were not served.The meal had the symbolicsignificance of a communion withthe souls of the departed: while thechestnuts were roasting, prayerswould be said for the person whohad just died
PROVERBS• Any de bolets, any de castanyes: Year with mushrooms, year with chestnuts.• Castanya torrada i calenta escalfa les mans...i el ventre!: Roasted and hot chestnut warms your hands ... and your tummy!• De castanyes, qui més en pela més en menja: Chestnuts, the more you peel the more you eat.
SONGSLA CASTANYERA (THE CHESTNUT SELLER)Quan ve el temps de menjar castanyes, (When it’s time to eat chestnuts)la castanyera, la castanyera (the chestnut seller, the chestnut seller)Ven castanyes de la muntanya (she sells some chestnuts in the countryside)A la plaça de la ciutat (and in the city square)La camisa li va petita (her shirt is too small)La faldilla li fa campana (her skirt is too big)Les sabates li fan cloc-cloc (her shoes sounds like cloc-cloc)I el ballar sempre gira així (and when she daces she turns like this)
MARRAMEUMarrameu torra castanyes,a la voreta del foc;ja n’hi peta una als morros,ja tenim marrameu mort.Pica ben fort, pica ben fort,que piques fusta,pica ben fort.