All Saints’ Day
|Huesitos de Santos|
Chestnuts roasting on an open fire…
|At my school’s Magosto celebrations|
Historically, the chestnut was the main source of carbohydrates in the region until corn and potatoes from the Americas were introduced centuries ago. However, Galicians still consume chestnuts today in huge quantities, and the Magosto festival held in mid-November celebrates this important nut. Wander through the streets of the old town in Santiago and you’re sure to find someone manning a miniature train engine with chestnuts roasting away. A couple euros can buy you a newspaper-roll of warm castañas!
The “Little Summer”By mid-October, the winter rains are already in full swing, but Galicians look forward to the feast day of San Martiño (St. Martin), as November 11th often heralds an Indian summer, or a “period of unseasonably warm, dry weather that sometimes occurs in autumn in the Northern Hemisphere” (thanks, Wikipedia). In the Galician language, they like to rhyme a lot, so they call it “o veranciño de San Martiño”—“St. Martin’s little summer.” Last year, we were lucky enough to have one of these and it didn’t rain for FIVE WEEKS straight. The weather forecast doesn’t look nearly as promising for this November; however, we can’t complain as we had a high pressure system of Saharan dust hovering over the region for several weeks in October.
Harvest (a colleita) and pig slaughter (a mata do porco)
If it’s cold enough outside, the annual pig slaughter also happens in November. Spaniards love their pork, and they eat nearly every part of the animal, from loin to ribs to ears, trotters, and face. I haven’t attended a mata do porco here yet, although I have a (vegetarian!) friend who did go to one last year…it sounded pretty brutal. The Galician language has a little rhyme about the pig slaughter that I like: “A todo porquiño lle chega o seu San Martiño,” which literally means “Every piggie’s got their own St. Martin’s Day coming,” but more loosely means “You’ll get what’s coming to you.” Watch out!
What’s your favorite month of the year? Do you love the crisp weather of fall and the fun festivals it brings? Share your voice below in the comments!