La Nit de les Ànimes que desplazó Halloween  - Nivia Born Boutique Hotel
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La Nit de les Ànimes que desplazó Halloween 

La Nit de les Ànimes que desplazó Halloween  - Nivia Born Boutique Hotel

Halloween is one of the most important international autumn festivals and it is impossible to miss. It takes place just before the beginning of November and comes from the concept of All Hallows Eve. It was film and television that caused this Anglo-Saxon holiday to become so popular in the 1980s that we have embraced the typically American rituals and customs. Does “trick or treat” sound familiar? But how about “mà morta, mà morta… pica a la porta!” or “paga o plora”?

Historically on our island there is a tradition of approaching death and the dead that has little to do with witches, costumes and mountains of sugar. We are referring to Nit de les Ànimes ( 31st October), All Saints’ Day (1st November), Vigília de morts ( 1st November) and Dia de morts (2nd November). In the traditional calendar, zombies and vampire stories give way to collective rituals, the most popular of which are visits to cemeteries or candy rosaries given to children.

1 November coincides with the arrival of cold weather, a time of remembrance where it is seen as appropriate to think about those who are no longer with us and also to look death in the face in order to live life to the fullest. In the past, it was customary in Mallorca to work on your relationship with death by making offerings to the deceased and performing other funeral rituals, such as cleaning and decorating graves. The stories of mourning were also remembered and godfathers and godmothers gave their godchildren rosaries of marzipan, candied and dried fruits or panets de mort, which were shaped like a shroud.

There is no record of costume parades in Mallorca for Nit de les Ànimes. Although there was a tradition of fer bubotes (apparitions of young people wrapped in sheets to scare people) during autumn and winter, doing so in the first days of November was considered an offence. Pumpkins, omnipresent at Halloween, were also used as lanterns in Mallorcan homes (although watermelons and melons were used months before). It was customary to cut faces into them and put candles inside before placing them in the windows. The lights on this day were used to guide the souls returning home to visit the living, who were left a plate of food on the table, a fire to warm them and even a bed prepared for them to rest in. Small altars were also dedicated to them.

Although the party and the costumes were not characteristic of Nit de les Ànimes, there are records of some traditions that remind us that a certain festive spirit was preserved. For example, workers on the olive grove estates used to leave the village at midnight, playing bells and horns and singing.

Palma brings back Nit de les Ànimes

On 28 October 2023, the 42nd edition of Ratapinyada will pay tribute to Nit de les Ànimes at the Parc del Sagrat Cor with a wide-ranging programme of activities for young people and families. From 6 to 9 in the evening, you can expect fantasy and fun proposals that will make your hair stand on end.

As you can see, celebrating our relationship with the afterlife is something universal (think of the “Day of the Dead” in Mexico, with its spectacular and colourful offerings). After all, death is still a part of life and, as such, it is up to each person to decide how to celebrate it.

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