See a video on 1st November at Orsara. Around the world, during this time, there are festivals and celebrations commemorating the spirit world and those who have departed. and the tradition risks to loose its strength. Come visit us at Cucina Toscana for a hearty, autumnal Italian feast on these two old Italian holidays. The product is included in the list of traditional Italian food products of Sicily. Prayers and alms are given for the dead, as well as souls that are stuck in purgatory. Among the people old traditions were adapted to the new names of the festivities, and the meaning changed, maintaining however the belief that in those days the dead could return among the living, wandering the earth or visiting living relatives. Il Giorno dei Morti begins at dawn with a somber Mass for the dead, offering prayers and alms for the deceased. In Sicily, clove-scented cookies are made specially for this day. This celebration is known as La Festa di Ognissanti, and it is a feast to celebrate all of the saints of the Catholic calendar. The 1st of November is a national holiday in Italy, known as Tutti i Santi or Ognissanti, which celebrates all saints and is followed by All Souls Day on the 2nd of November, a day devoted to honor loved ones who have passed away. The return to the houses was then announced by the ringing of bells, to let the visitors leave unseen. See a video preparation of Frutta Martorana. Relatives gather around some of the graves illuminated by candles during All Saints Day at the cemetery in Vilnius, Lithuania, Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020. One of the most common treats is Frutta Martorana, sweets made of almond paste that are expertly crafted to look like fruits. Today there are many other occasions during the year (Christmas, Epifania, Birthdays, etc.) The ‘muorti’ bring presents of toys and sweets. In Italy, All Saints’ Day is celebrated on November 1. The young ones wake up on the 2nd of November to hunt for presents that had been hidden around the house. In this region, it is believed that fava beans are a direct line of communication between the dead and the living. Then on November 1st almost everywhere the first "caldarroste" (roasted chestnuts) of the season appeared for the enjoyment of young and old. Until a few decades ago, this was in fact the only celebration of the year when children received presents, usually sweets and toys. All Souls' Day (Commemoration of All Faithful Departedd) was officially placed on the date of November 2 in the tenth century A.D., practically merging with All Saints' Day, November 1, already a feast from the year 853, and the two days almost overlap in the collective imagination. Anthropomorphic cakes and bread for ritual purposes existed already at the time of the Romans. Statues, images and icons in the image of the different saints are seen in many Catholic churches in Italy. After Mass, families visit the graveyard to pay tribute to the faithful who have gone before them. This tradition and use for century has made this flower unpopular with many, and presenting bouquet with chrysanthemums would be very bad omen. Il pane de morti, a sweet made of crumbled biscuits, raisins, sugar, cinnamon, and chocolate, is also popular on this day. But parents continue to warn their children to behave in hopes that "i bonarmuzza re muorticieddi" (the good souls of the dead) might bring them presents. The tradition of this feast has been recorded many different places, from Turkey to Lebanon. Chrysanthemums, an autumnal flower, is often left on grave sites. I was especially happy to read in Cinzia's blog that in Liguria… All Souls’ Day, in Roman Catholicism, a day for commemoration of all the faithful departed, those baptized Christians who are believed to be in purgatory because they died with the guilt of lesser sins on their souls. Today I am happy to share a guest blog about how the Halloween season is celebrated in Italy, written by Cinzia, a native Italian who was born and raised in Liguria. The tradition goes back to early Christianity, when the fathers of the church, seeing that among the country folk some pagan feasts were still very popular, tried to introduce these feasts into the lithurgy. Il Giorno dei Morti begins at dawn with a somber Mass for the dead, offering prayers and alms for the deceased. In fact, it is even a public holiday – schools are closed, businesses are shuttered for the feast. After All Saints’ Day is All Souls’ Day, the day to commemorate loved ones who have passed away. We just had Halloween in the US – but did you know that Halloween is rooted in ancient traditions that extend beyond just the 31st of October? They are not traditionally given as gifts to the living and are commonly used to decorate grave sites on All Souls’ Day – though this practice is less common now than in the past. All Souls’ Day will go digital for the first time after the Church of England announced plans for mourners to light virtual candles with QR codes. One tradition (which is found both in Italy and in other parts of the world) occurs at meal time. Pumpkins and questing for candies and gifts are not a recent U.S. import for the Halloween party, but traditional features of the past, popular in many Italian regions. These old Italian traditions are carried on to this day through cuisine! Writings traced back to 609AD are some of the earliest to mention All Saints’ Day. Also in Abruzzo pumpkins were decorated, and the kids would go knocking from house to house asking for gifts for the souls of the dead, usually season fruit, dried fruit and sweets. Sweets play a large role in the cuisine of All Souls’ Day. All Souls’ Day also has a major focus on food. These foods, even if they belong to the Christian tradition, often have a previous pagan origin. In Comacchio there's the "punghen cmàciàis" (the Comacchio mouse), a cake shaped like a mouse. Yet, the day is not only a solemn affair and the remembrance of the deceased can turn into a celebratory occasion in certain regions, especially in Sicily. In this way All Saints Day, which honored the early Christian martyrs, was established on the 1st of November to merge with the ancient Druid rituals of October 31st, which was the Eve of New Year's Day in the Celtic calendar, a rite of passage, that is why the return of Dead Ones to the earth.
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