Fava Beans and All Souls Day


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I learnt something today which I had no clue about and had not even realised whilst growing up, until it was mentioned in our Facebook Group, but has apparently been a family tradition and a tradition of many for generations. 

On All Souls Day, (2nd of November) it is customary to eat Fava Beans. But why? Well, for every bean you eat, you send a trapped soul up to heaven, or something along those lines.  

After a bit of research, mainly out of curiosity, I discovered that Fava Beans are referred to in many different cultures, in the same context. From Egyptians, through to the Greeks and Romans it was believed that these unfortunate legumes housed the souls of the dead.

More closely related to Gibraltar are Italians and Sicilians, many of whom settled in Gibraltar. Italians prepare their own Fava Bean recipes on All Souls Day, the main and most traditional being the Fave Dei Morti, which are bean shaped biscuits.

In Gibraltar, we have our very own traditional recipe enjoyed on this holy day, although it may vary slightly per family as many of the local recipes do, the general idea is the same.


  • 500 G Fava Beans
  • 5 slices of bread soaked in water ( but remove excess of water) 
  • 1 large glass Olive Oil
  • 4 Garlic cloves 
  • Vinegar to taste (I added 1 small glass) 
  • 2 or 3 teaspoonful Pimenton Dulce


Leave beans soaked in water over night, this is important as they need to release the toxins that beans contain. 

2 Next day remove black bits from the beans and boil until tender. Put aside to cool.

Meanwhile in a bowl add 5 slices of bread soaked in water (but remove excess water),  add olive oil , chopped garlic cloves, vinegar and pimenton dulce.

Mix everything together well and mix with the beans.

Recipe by Rose Carter

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