Halloween, celebrated with an Italian “Spirit”
The smell of cider floating in the air, the giggles of children dressed in costume giddy for their treats, jack o lanterns smiling at us creepily at every corner. The all American Halloween is one of the oldest holidays to be celebrated and recorded in American History dating back to the 1800s where it is said that immigrants from Ireland brought the mischievous festivities to America as a way to escape the potato famine back home and keep a little of their culture alive. There is no denying that children and adults from all over the United States have really begun taking this particular holiday to a different level in the past decade, with decorations galore, Halloween best costume prizes and neighborhoods known for their full size candy bars, the holiday has come a long way from the original meaning whether it meant warding off bad spirits for better crops, celebrating the Pagan beliefs for others or a festival meant to bridge the gap between the living and the dead bringing peace upon those living.
Although you might see some of the same nuances as in the States, Italy celebrates Halloween not as one day, October 31st, but more so they celebrate October 31st to November 2nd to include All Saint’s Day and All Souls Day. While Halloween is not an official holiday in Italy the Italians have come to celebrate the day of October 31st more and more as the years pass, in typical Italian style of course. If visiting Italy during Halloween there are plenty of ways to get into the Holiday “spirit”! From the catacombs in Rome to the Vineyards of Tuscany that offer special drinks, decorations amongst shopping windows throughout the region and of course an array of gastronomic deliciousness to mark the occasion such as chestnuts & tartufo inspired dishes etc. Halloween truly differs from region to region when in the beautiful country of Italy.
Some of the Southern regions may emphasize the importance of keeping up with traditions of bringing fresh flowers to cemeteries honoring those who have past, places such as Le Marche put more effort into festivals to honor the holiday such as the “Festival of Fire” or Venice, intriguing to visit with its mysterious history of lively ghost stories claiming it to be “haunted” and tantalizing you with a possible mist off its waters during these nights of scary celebrations.
Whatever version you choose to celebrate, one thing we know for sure is that for youngsters it’s all about the candy. In Italian Trick or Treat translates to “dolcetto o scherzetto”, and since the concept is fairly new the candy that is handed out may be of the more luxurious gelee’s or fruit filled candies such as the ones Baratti & Milano carries in their candy section. If you do find yourself in a city that celebrates Halloween in the traditional way of stores giving out candy to children you will notice that most of the costumes will stick to the typical Halloween vibes of witches, vampires, goblins, zombies etc. However and wherever you choose to spend this Halloween may the spirit of festivities and fun be ever so present!
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