In this article called “Does Halloween exist in Italy?”, I am going to answer the title’s question: Does Halloween exist in Italy? I will also discuss some Italian traditions. In Italy, we don’t have Halloween but two important festivities more or less at the same time of the year. They are very ancient and mean a lot to us!
Read the following article to know more about our traditions!
You know the children trick-or-treating in the streets or people of all ages dressing up as all sorts of monsters on October 31st?
Well, this tradition that we are all used to seeing in American films is not part of Italian culture, and we certainly don’t celebrate on this day. To be honest, however, especially in recent times, the number of places that organize Halloween parties and the number of young people who attend them have multiplied, thus importing customs and traditions from abroad!
Giorno di Tutti i Santi or Ognissanti (All Saints Day)
Our celebrations take place in November. The first day is November 1st, during which we celebrate the saints. This is not only obviously a Catholic holiday, but also a public holiday recognised by the Italian state, so offices, factories and schools are generally closed, and most people do not work. This is one of those days to spend with family and many, especially when they can take advantage of the famous ponte dei morti (long weekend of the dead), return to their native countries.
In some places, including the one where I live, there is a very nice and meaningful tradition, that of the calza dei morti. On the evening of November 1st, before going to sleep, children hang empty stockings in visible places. The next day when they wake up, they find them full of gifts, typically sweets.
According to popular belief, our dearly departed return to the world of the living on this very night and fill the children’s stockings with gifts. This is a way to exorcize death, in order to teach children not to be afraid of it and to maintain a bond with our loved ones who are no longer with us.
Il Giorno dei Morti (Day of the Dead)
On November 2nd we celebrate the Day of the Dead, a holiday that has deep roots and carries a beautiful message: keeping alive the memory of those who are no longer with us.
On this day, the tradition is to go with one’s family to the cemetery to honor the dead.
I cannot tell you exactly what happens in big cities, but in small towns like mine, the whole community gathers in this sacred place, as we say “nella città di chi non c’è più” (in the town of those who are no longer with us). It is usually the oldest members who tell young people and children who the buried people were, narrating the most important aspects of their lives and reconstructing the family trees of entire families.
In these festive days, a traditional culinary dessert, grano cotto, also known as the dessert of the dead, could not be missing. It is a delicacy made with simple ingredients and authentic flavor, just like those of yesteryear. It is a very ancient sweet with deep symbolic meaning!
This article helps us to answer the initial question: Does Halloween exist in Italy? No, it does not exist, or at least it is not something that is part of our roots.
The festivities and traditions described in this article are very old and have survived despite the inevitable passage of time. In some areas, like the one where I live, they are still very much alive and felt. Nevertheless, it is necessary not to take them for granted, but to protect them and to prevent traditions imported for pure enjoyment that are meaningless to us from causing ours to fall into disuse.
Do you agree with me? Is there any particular holiday you celebrate at this time of the year in your country? Write it in the comments. I look forward to reading them and discovering new traditions!
Translated by Alanna Quintyne
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