It is said that the souls of the dead have until the first day of November to make their way to the place assigned to them by nature; the underworld. To help lost souls find the way, a number of traditional rituals have developed over the years in the villages of Somontano. Noises, prayers, lights and food are used to smooth their passage from our world to the next. All of this is relived every year in Radiquero on the celebration of All Souls’ Night.
All Saint’s Day was a day of mourning and prayer in remembrance and respect for the dead. In the morning the women would go to the cemetery to deck the tombs and gravestones of their loved ones with flowers. The children would pass the day in the allotments making Jack-o’-Lanterns from pumpkins grown for pig fodder. Later that day, just before nightfall, the rosary would be said. And finally, when All Soul’s night began, the silence was broken by the pealing of the bells, which was repeated hour after hour; ringing for the dead. With candles lighting up the faces of their Jack-o’-Lanterns, the children would run through the village streets, a ritual that was said to frighten off wandering souls and send them to their rightful place.
Later that night around cosy fireplaces, stories of witches, goblins, graveyards and ghostly apparitions would be told while villagers ate traditional cakes such as huesos de santo, (marzipan cakes that look like “saints’ bones”) buñuelos (a kind of fritter) and panellets (small cakes covered with pine nuts.)Every year in Radiquero on the 1st November, the villagers continue with the tradition of All Souls’ night. The Jack-o’-Lanterns afford the village a festive yet slightly sinister air as the villagers get together, tell stories and mysterious tales and eat their delicious cakes.