When it comes to Halloween, most people think of America with its pumpkin carving, costumes, and trick or treating. But did you know that Halloween is also celebrated in Italy, with its own unique twist on the holiday?
In Italy, Halloween is known as “All Hallows’ Eve” or “La Vigilia di Ognissanti,” which is the day before All Saints’ Day, a major holiday in the Catholic Church. While Halloween in Italy is not as big of a holiday as it is in the United States, there are still plenty of spooky and fun traditions that take place.
One of the most popular Halloween traditions in Italy is “dolcetto o scherzetto,” which translates to “trick or treat.” Similar to the American tradition, children dress up in costumes and go from door to door asking for candy. However, instead of saying “trick or treat,” they say “dolcetto o scherzetto,” which means “candy or prank.”
If the homeowner chooses to give candy, the children are thrilled and happily move on to the next house. However, if the homeowner decides to play a trick instead, the children must perform a silly task or sing a song in order to earn their candy.
Another Halloween tradition in Italy is the creation of “fave dei morti,” or “beans of the dead.” These small, oval-shaped cookies are made from ground almonds, sugar, and flour, and are flavored with orange blossom water or other flavorings. They are often served alongside other sweets and treats on All Saints’ Day.
In addition to these traditions, many Italian cities and towns host Halloween-themed events and festivals. One of the most popular is the “Festa di Halloween” in Rome, which takes place in the historic Piazza del Popolo. The square is transformed into a spooky Halloween village, complete with haunted houses, a pumpkin patch, and plenty of candy and treats.
Another Halloween festival worth noting is the “Notte delle Streghe,” or “Night of the Witches,” in the town of Triora. This town is known for its history of witchcraft and the festival celebrates this with a parade of witches, bonfires, and spooky performances.
While Halloween is a relatively new holiday in Italy, with traditions dating back only a few decades, the country has a rich history of celebrating All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day, which are both important religious holidays. On these days, families visit cemeteries to honor their loved ones who have passed away, often bringing flowers and lighting candles.
In fact, the origin of Halloween can be traced back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, which was celebrated on November 1st and marked the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter. The Celts believed that on this day, the boundary between the living and the dead was blurred, and ghosts could walk among the living.
Over time, the holiday evolved and was adopted by different cultures, including the Catholic Church, which incorporated it into their religious calendar as All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day.
In conclusion, Halloween in Italy may not be as widely celebrated as it is in America, but it still has its own unique traditions and festivities. From dolcetto o scherzetto to fave dei morti, there are plenty of delicious and spooky treats to enjoy. Whether you’re in Rome, Triora, or another Italian city, you’re sure to find plenty of Halloween fun and excitement. So, if you’re ever in Italy in late October, be sure to experience this one-of-a-kind holiday for yourself!