Chestnuts… cooked, roasted, creamed… Chestnuts are delicious in all forms.
Pinions, the main ingredient of “panellets” (cakes made from ground almonds and sugar, there are many kinds, but the best known is carrying pinions).
“La castanyada” is one of the most popular traditional festivals or customs celebrated in Catalonia.
The main element are roasted chestnuts and pinions for “panellets”, these are two things very important in this festival to eat.
“La castanyada” have the beginning in the middle Ages where neighbors prayed for the deceased.
During the night of All Saints (31 October) the ringers rang the bells of all convents, and so the ringer needed a big energy input.
The chestnut is the most abundant fruit in autumn, so the ringers recovered the fatigue with chestnuts and white wine.
There are many ringers in the towns, wherefore all the people in towns finished eating chestnuts and drinking white wine.
Moreover of the “panellets” and chestnuts, people ate “boniatos” (a kind of potatoes) too.
When night came, people met in home (usually in family) to eat “panellets”, chestnuts with white wine and “boniatos” and prayed for the deceased.
Children left hidden chestnuts in some corners of the house for souls to come and collect them and change it for “panellets”.
At finals of century XVIII, the chestnut become the most popular fruit and became commercially with it.
Sold in the markets and street stalls, coming from there the typical sign of “la castanyada”: “la castanyera”.
“La castanyera” is an old woman dress for roast chestnuts… with her scarf, long skirts and very warm for the cold temperature in October.
Therefore, they created this beautiful custom in Catalonia over the years.
Finally, the 1stday of November, people come to cemetery to pray for them deceased and leave flowers in the graves.
These days (31 of October and 1 of November) are very important dates to be with family and the loved ones.