Does Spain celebrate the Day of the Dead? Your Guide to the Día de Los Muertos in Spain

Affiliate links
This post might contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase through this link I will earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. But I will only recommend products and services I believe are of value for you. Thank you so much for your support.

You’ve probably seen the pictures of Día de Los Muertos. Every year in the fall, they appear everywhere on social media and other media forms. But does Spain celebrate the day of the dead the same way Mexico does?

I’ve been living in Spain for a handful of years, so I know a lot about the traditions and customs in the country. In this article, you will learn how and if Día de Los Muertos is celebrated in Spain. In addition, I will explain what All Saints Day is about in Spain and if and how we celebrate Halloween in Spain. But for now, let’s get to the central question of this article.

Does Spain celebrate the Day of the Dead?

The Día de Los Muertos, the day of the dead, also exists in Spain under the name “Día de Los Fieles Difuntos” and commemorates the dead. Although the day dates back to the same Catholic holiday, it is NOT celebrated with skulls and disguises as it is in Mexico.

What is the Día de los Muertos?

what is the dia de los muertos, mexican altar of the dead

Día de Los Muertos is a holiday on November 02, celebrated in Mexico as a day of remembrance for the dead. In recent years, it has become particularly famous for the skeleton disguises (“calacas“) and skull makeup (“calaveras“) that some Mexicans wear as part of the celebrations.

While Día de los Muertos was once more of a religious holiday in Mexico, the day is now celebrated in many parts of Latin America. There are many parties and events in various places on the Latin American continent, but especially in Mexico.

The origins can be traced back to the Catholic holiday and Aztec rituals in which the lives of the deceased were celebrated. It was believed that the dead returned to the living on this day to celebrate with them.

How do you celebrate the Día de los Muertos in Spain?

Día de los Muertos is celebrated very differently in Spain than in Mexico. In total, it consists of three days and three different celebrations.

October 31: Día de las Brujas, Halloween & Castanyada

The Día de las Brujas

Traditionally, the Día de las Brujas (Day of the Witches) is celebrated in Spain on October 31. But if you think of it as being directly related to Halloween, you’re on the wrong track. Because although the witches fit thematically to Halloween, on this day, traditionally, the Spaniards commemorate all those who were burned as alleged witches in the 17th and 18th centuries.

However, nowadays, this is a rather old tradition that has been lost to memory in most places in the country.

The Castanyada

panellets and roasted chestnuts, typical in Catalonia for the day of All Saints' Day

Instead, the so-called Castanyada is traditionally celebrated in Catalonia on the day of October 31. This day dates back to the 18th century and, like the following day, is dedicated to the memory of the dead.

During the Castanyada, roasted chestnuts are traditionally eaten. These were once typical food served at funerals.

Today, according to Catalan tradition, people enjoy hot chestnuts and baked sweet potatoes together with their families on this day.

Especially in the north of Spain, many families go to the countryside or nearby farms for this. In this way, the chestnuts can be enjoyed, especially freshly grilled.


Similar to many European countries, Halloween is not a native custom, but it is becoming more widely adopted, especially among the younger generation.

Especially in large and international cities like Madrid and Barcelona, the custom of Halloween has been widely adopted. And so every year, especially the youngest go out for trick-or-treating.

But also, the expat scene contributes to the adoption of this custom. Here in Barcelona, parties and events on the subject are held every year in many areas of the city.

The Día de los Muertos

mexican altar of the dead in Gràcia Barcelona on Halloween
In international cities, you can definitely find Mexican decorations, like here in Gràcia, Barcelona

With a sizeable Mexican expat scene, you can also find sporadic events and dress up for Día de Los Muertos between 10/31 and 11/02 in international cities like Barcelona and Madrid.

November 01st: El Día de todos los Santos – All Saints’ Day

As in other Catholic countries, All Saints’ Day (El Día de Todos Los Santos) is celebrated in Spain on November 01 every year. In Spain, this day is a public holiday throughout the country.

The day dates back to the Catholic holiday commemorating all the saints. Traditionally, the day is spent with family or in the cemetery. Because in addition to the dead, all the loved ones who have passed away over the years are remembered.

November 02: Día de los Fieles Difuntos – Day of the Dead

On November 02, Spain officially celebrates the Día de Los Fieles Difuntos (Day of the Faithful Deceased). This is not an official holiday in Spain and is associated by most families with All Saints Day, celebrated the day before.

The day may also be called Día de los Muertos (Engl. Day of the Dead), just as in Mexico, and dates back to the same Catholic holiday. However, celebrations like those in Mexico are not common in Spain. Nowadays, the day is no longer considered by most as a holiday in its own right but only celebrated the day before as All Saints Day.

How do you celebrate Halloween in Spain?

Halloween in Spain is not an official holiday or tradition in the country. Nevertheless, younger people especially celebrate the day in the country with typical American traditions.

Especially in big international cities, more and more children in Spain wander around the houses to go trick-or-treating.

Young adults and teenagers, on the other hand, celebrate with dress-up costumes in clubs and at Halloween parties.

However, Spain does not have its own typical Halloween traditions.

How All Saint’s is celebrated in Spain

Typical Spanish tomb with flowers, All Saints Day
On All Saints Day in Spain, it is typical to bring flowers to the grave of a loved one.

On November 01, Spain celebrates the Catholic holiday of All Saints’ Day, known in Spanish as Día de todos Los Santos.

While the younger generation is recovering from the Halloween party of the previous night, it is traditionally typical to go to the cemetery on this day and commemorate the deceased. This typically involves laying bouquets and flower arrangements at the graves of loved ones.

Especially the older generation in Spain still follows this custom.

Typical treats on All Saints’ Day in Spain are cream puffs (sp. Buñuelos de Viento) and chestnuts. In the north of the country, but especially in Catalonia, panellets and grilled sweet potatoes are also traditionally eaten.


About the AuthorVicki

Hi, we are Vicki & Eduardo, an international travel couple on a mission to help you save money for priceless travel experience. Follow us through the miracles of this world and you will be rewarded with a bunch of practical travel tips.

More about us
5/5 - (1 vote)

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.