The other day I wrote about the differences at Christmas between the UK and here in Tenerife. Yesterday I was at a party in Icod de Los Vinos where I was chatting with my father-in-law. During our conversation I found that things were a little different in his younger years here when Halloween came about.
Here in Tenerife, Halloween is called All Saints Day…in the Roman Catholic Church officially called the Solemnity of All Saints and also called All Hallows or Hallowmas…probably hence Halloween. The people in Tenerife and South America also call it Día de los Muertos – Day of the Dead or Día de los Difuntos – this is a more polite Day of the Deceased.
The day itself is celebrated on the 1st November where families of those that have died congregate in the cemeteries where they are buried. Flowers are brought, prayers are said, the graves are tided and maybe inscriptions re-painted and then food & drink is consumed.
Going back to the conversation I was having with my Father-in-Law, he mentioned that when he was young he and his friends were sent out into the streets, the night before, the 31st October. The kids were sent out on a mission, they were asked to find El Pan por Dios – The Bread for God. It turns out that children were sent out with empty bags to go and search for food, presumably this would have originally been for the following days celebrations.
The Bread for God is not, as I thought, going about asking neighbours for bread, but in fact going around asking neighbours for nuts, dried fruit, boiled eggs, wine and aguapié – I had to look this up, it turns out that aguapié is the cheapest wine or plonk as we might say in English. Apparently some of the cheekier children would go straight to the wine cellars and ask for the wine and aguapié and miss out on the other items…
This tradition made me think of todays children going from house to house carrying out an evening of “Trick or Treat”. This is something that has recently started here over the past few years which has probably brought over by children from the UK where it seems to be another popular American import.
Happy Halloween and be safe if you are going out on a Trick or Treat night…or for that matter searching for El Pan por Dios…now where is my glass of aguapié.