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StartNewsLos finaos: ancestral tradition

Los finaos: ancestral tradition

16 Aug 2023

Discover how los finaos is celebrated on the Canary Islands.

"Finaos", as it's known on the Canary Islands, or "finados" means "deceased" and it's celebrated from the night of the 31st of October until the 2nd of November. Learn about the origin of Halloween on the Canary Islands in this article! Also, don't miss out on this plan if you don't know What to do on Gran Canaria in october.

In this article, we’re going to bring you closer to the most deeply-rooted traditions of Canarian culture. We’re going to show you what the finaos are and what meaning they have on the Canary Islands on the most intimate night when the dead are remembered.

Origin of "El día de los finaos" or the Canarian Halloween

Many people associate the tradition of the finaos with the day of the dead, but many don’t know where this ancestral tradition, so deeply rooted among the Canary Islanders, comes from. 

Apart from the American origin of the finaos related to Halloween, it also has part of its origin in two festivities that go back hundreds of years, such as the following:

  • Samhaín: the origin of all autumn festivities. In the Celtic and in the Berber world, it meant the time of change. On this festival, numerous feasts took place around a table full of relatives, where food was left on the doors of the houses for the deceased. Likewise, doors and windows were always open to allow the spirits of the deceased to pass through.

  • Magosto: a festivity that takes place in Galicia, Asturias and Cantabria. It’s quite similar to the finaos with a common axis, chestnuts, and it’s celebrated during the day of the deceased by sharing food between families. Sometimes the food is left next to a bonfire, where people jump and play games around it.

The three traditions have something in common: to get together as a family, to enjoy a good meal, remembering those who are no longer with us.

The tradition of the finaos in the Canary Islands

Los finados or "finaos" as it’s colloquially known, is a festivity that takes place from the 31st of October, the night of the dead, until the 1st of November, All Saints' Day.

In the Canary Islands, the finaos are a massive celebration in which families gather to remember their deceased loved ones. Stories are told about them, they are remembered, they are kept in their prayers, all accompanied by the traditional chestnuts, sweet figs and all kinds of food.

However, the feast of All Souls' Day has a few variations, depending on the family in which it is celebrated. The feast can last all night or extend into the next day, even into the evening of 1 November.

One of the great traditions of this festivity in the different villages is to go out into the street to enjoy, where the parrandas sing and dance. In fact, this practice is rarely seen, like the tradition of going out to ask for the "santitos" (little saints).

The tradition of the "santitos" was practised by the youngest people, who went from house to house asking if there was a saint. The owners of the houses would go out to give them chestnuts or almonds.

This is the origin of what is known today as "trick or treat" asking for sweets, to later share them with the family and friends.

The tradition of the finaos or Halloween today

pumpkins with a wooden background halloween

Nowadays, the Finaos festivity is still celebrated under the most ancestral tradition, both in towns and cities of the Canary Islands. Traditions such as getting together as a family, enjoying food and chestnuts have been maintained, but other traditions like Halloween, where you dress up and go from door to door trick or treating, gradually took over.

In spite of this, the traditions aren’t lost, and many Canarian and people from abroad enjoy this festivity that goes back hundreds of years.

If you want to enjoy the Canarian traditions in the company of family and friends, such as the finaos, at Dunas Hotels & Resorts we have the best hotels to stay at during these dates, and not miss out on Halloween on the Canary Islands.

We have a chain of hotels, such as the Hotel Suites & Villas by Dunas in Maspalomas, to stay in beautiful suites and villas, immersed in an oasis of native vegetation, where the sun shines every morning between our palm trees and fills our pools with warmth, or the Mirador Maspalomas by Dunas, where you’ll find the ideal place to relax and let yourself be carried away by the festivity of los finaos.