Halloween is an American holiday but here in Portugal we had our very own tradition in All Hallows day. Unfortunately since the mass distribution of Halloween throughout the world we lost our beautiful tradition, but today I would like to tell you a little bit about it.
All Hallows is a Catholic celebration of all saints and martyrs known or otherwise. In Portugal tradition says that children go outside in the 1st of November and go house to house asking for the “God’s Bread”. They recite songs and get bread, cookies, cakes, pomegranates and dried fruits, nuts, almonds, and chestnuts, as offerings that they keep in their cloth, patchwork or tassel bags. I remember going out early in the morning around my house asking for treats, and then at school sharing the spoils with my friends. Mostly we received fruits of the season and if we were lucky some chocolate but the best part was the stuffing yourself full on all that you had conquered!
It may seem allot like Halloween, but the kids don’t wear costumes, it’s done during the day and theirs no trick just treats. Maybe it’s not as glamorous but for me it was just as fun and I loved it!
It also carries a sentimental side, since this tradition is rutted in historical events in our country. It is a reminder of what happened in November 1st, 1755. An historical and massive earthquake destroyed our capital, Lisbon, and families where forced to go door to door asking for whatever people could spare.
As good as it is to know the traditions of other people it is sad that people have abandoned their own, I hope to teach my kids to treasure their tradition and hopefully help the bring it back to life.
Have a happy Halloween!
Here are some of the songs we used to sing:
“Bread, bread for God to the child,
Fill my bag,
and I’ll be leaving.”
And to those that refused the treat we said this curse:
“That the fatty fat, gets your pot,
and leaves you without,
bran or crumb.”