November 1st marks All Saint’s Day, which is a Christian festival in honor of known and unknown saints. In Italy, this is a nationwide holiday, so government offices, banks, and educational centers are closed to celebrate.
During this day, Italian families will meet up and exchange gifts in honor of the celebration. In general, celebrations are based around the strong connection between those in heaven and those in the living realm on earth. It is also common for families to visit cemeteries and to pay their respects to passed loves on this day.
All Saint’s Day dinner usually consists of a traditional meal, such as ceci con le costine. This is a traditional Italian soup that is very simple to prepare: chickpeas, celery, carrots, onions, tomatoes, and pork ribs are the main ingredients. Traditional Italian treats or desserts may also be prepared and served.
The next day is All Soul’s Day, and this is designated to remember loved ones who have passed away. This, however, is not a nationwide holiday, so operations resume as usual. Many families leave chrysanthemums on gravesites, as these are the traditional autumn flower in Italy.
Celebrations for All Soul’s Day begin in the very early morning hours, as families pay for passed loved ones. Families take the extra step to prepare a seat at the dining room table for passed loved ones, as many believe that their deceased relatives make an appearance from the afterlife.
All Soul’s Day celebrations slightly differ in Italian regions. For example, Sicilian children leave shoes outside in hopes that their passed loved ones will reward their prayers with sweets and treats, while Sardinian families make special clove-scented cookies for loved ones.
All in all, All Saint’s Day and All Soul’s Day are important for remembering loved ones and celebrating delicious Italian food. You can find everything you need for your own celebrations at Doris Italian Markets.