The Castanyada (Catalan pronunciation: [kəstəˈɲaðə]) is a popular Catalan festival, celebrated on All Saints’ Day. Like Halloween, its origins are in an ancient ritual festival of the dead. It consists of a meal of chestnuts, panellets, sweet potato and preserved fruits, typically with moscatell to drink. 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.
It seems that the tradition of eating these foods comes from the fact that during All Saints’ night, the night before All Souls’ Day in the Christian tradition, bell ringers would ring bells in commemoration of the dead into the early morning. Friends and relatives would help with this task, and everyone would eat these foods for sustenance.
The festival is usually depicted with the figure of a castanyera: an old lady, dressed in peasant’s clothing and wearing a headscarf, sat behind a table, roasting chestnuts for street sale.
Day: Nov. 5th 2011(Saturday)
Time: From 3pm to 7pm
Where: 4601 North Park Avenue, Chevy Chase, MD (see map here) What:
-From 3pm to 5pm: crafts, drawings, make up kids, and to prepare panellets -5pm: a storyteller will explain the Castanyera story to the children -5.30pm: candy games
-From 5.30pm to 6.30pm: time to eat castanyes, panellets and more -7pm: end
Metro: Friendship Heights (10 minutes walking distance)