The tradition, besides many events held on the streets, consists of a meal of chestnuts, “panellets”, sweet potatoes and preserved fruits, typically with “moscatell” (a type of sweet wine) to drink. Usually, a few days before the 31st of October, street vendors sell hot toasted chestnuts wrapped in newspaper.
The Chrisitian tradition of eating these highly energetic meals comes from the fact that during All Saints’ night, the bell ringers would ring the bells turning them into music until the early morning sunrise in commemoration of the dead ones. Their friends and relatives, to show support to the bell ringers, would help them with this hard task, and, in order to not defeat, they would all eat chestnuts and sweet potatoes, foods of the season that bring a lot of energy to the body.
In recent years, the Castanyada is celebrated in the home and community. It is the first of the four main school festivals, alongside Christmas, Carnestoltes and St George’s Day, without reference to ritual or commemoration of the dead.
Also, it is typical for schools to take this day as a festival day at school, as a folk day, in which, during the morning, the younger kids prepare and cook the “panellets” and the older ones toast the chestnuts. Later in the day they usually all gather in the yard and common areas, sit all together and enjoy what they have cooked with a bit of apple juice (the substitute of the moscatell for the younger ones), while some folk dances and performances are done by the same young kids.