Today’s post is dedicated to Halloween in Florence.
Why have we decided to write about Halloween today, you may ask? Because we are preparing a surprise…
For many years in Florence, Halloween has been the holiday that serves as a gateway to autumn, along with the Feast of All Saints.
While Halloween is rooted in Irish and Celtic tradition, it is also tied to the Italian Commemoration of the Dead.
Halloween is celebrated on October 31, whereas the Commemoration of the Dead and All Saints’ Day, both Catholic traditions, are celebrated on November 2 and on November 1, respectivley.
According to each of these traditions, the realm of the living meets the realm of the dead once a year. Halloween is similar to the Commemoration of the Dead, on which occasion the poor, in medieval times, would dress in rags and ask alms in exchange for prayers for the dead.
Halloween is symbolized by the jack-o’-lantern, a lighted pumpkin with a frightening face carved into it. It was formerly carved from the turnip and was used to commemorate the souls in Purgatory.
This custom is reminiscent of the Feast of Rificolona, which takes place on September 7 in Florence. On this occasion, children prepare lamps made of paper and carry them around the city on sticks.
Halloween has incorporated many of the traditions once belonging to All Saints’ Day.
On the streets of Florence in the evening of October 31, you may find—thanks in part to the many Americans residing in and visiting the city—witches, devils and ghosts, all in search of treats.
You may also witness more original costumes, surely inspired by the ever popular Divine Comedy.
On Halloween, every disguise is accepted, as long as it is scary. Be on the lookout as damned souls come forward to take your treats!
Some advice: make sure to ask for “treats” on Halloween night in the homes of the Florentines; otherwise, you might receive instead the traditional “dead bones“, cookies similar in form and texture to real bones (quite difficult to chew).
This trick could be played on you! 😉
Pictures by waterbaby and guidetostyle.blogspot.com