All Saints’ Day in the Canaries

All Saints’ Day in Gran Canaria falls on November 1st. This fiesta is a bank holiday and it is called “Todos Los Santos” in Spanish.

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Traditionally, All Saints’ Day is when the Canarians and Spanish lay flowers on the graves of their loved ones. All Saints’ is about family members who have died. Traditional All Saints’ food includes almond cakes, roasted chestnuts and “huesos de santos” which are literally “saints’ bones”. These little treats are made of eggs, sugar syrup and marzipan. Sweet potatoes are popular too.

History of All Saints’ Day

May 13th used to be the date of All Saints’ Day but the pope moved it to November 1st where before there had been a pagan festival. The Gaels believed hundreds of years ago that November 1st was when the boundaries between the dead and the living disappeared, so the pope felt the date was apt for All Saints’ Day.

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Be careful if you’re renting a car in Gran Canaria over Halloween because everyone finishes work early the day before All Saints’ to drive to their birthplace. This is more of a problem on Spanish motorways, because obvious Spain is bigger, but there is also more traffic in the Canaries on this date.

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