November is a time of change in Menorca. As the summer tourist season ends on the 31st October, the people of the island start to unwind and prepare for winter. The 1st of November marks the national holiday of All Saints Day in Spain or Tot Sants as it is called here in Menorca. The 2nd of November marks All Souls Day or Día de difunts/morts.
Although internationally it is the eve of Tot Sants which is celebrated as Halloween, here on the island residents commemorate the day by visiting their loved ones in the local cemeteries. Over these two day, the cemeteries which are normally well kept and attractive are bursting with colour as graves are adorned with elaborate flower arrangements, plants and candles. Technically the 1st November is All Saints Day, when those who are not named after a saint can claim a day to celebrate themselves (e.g. there is no Saint Vanessa… unless I get sanictified upon my passing), and All Souls Day is the day to visit and honor loved ones passed.
This week’s peek is a glimpse inside the old cemetery in Ciutadella, which is particularly beautiful with its variety of headstones and statues that fill the gated enclosure’s three separate areas. The cemetery tells the stories of generations gone by and the history of the small town where most families and friends have been bonded together in some way. That is what is special about the community in a small town.
Another tradition celebrated on All Saints Day is the making of a sweet treat known as Bunyols in Menorca. Also made throughout Spain, these resemble doughnuts made with Boniato which is a white sweet potato as an added ingredient to the flour, yeast, egg and sugar mix. Once the batter is made and left to rise, the Bunyols are formed by hand and cooked in hot vegetable oil then rolled in sugar the same as doughnuts, with a similar taste. Best eaten whilst still warm and dipped in local Menorcan honey known as Mel.
A once a year treat that everyone looks forward to as the times with dear family and friends departed are remembered fondly.