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How Italians Celebrate Halloween

Portrait of three Halloween girls

Halloween is an especially popular day in Italy among members of the younger set, and for good reason. Who doesn’t want an excuse to play pranks and dress up and receive candy by the ton? This festival was imported wholesale by Italians from the United States with the help of television, film, and other sources of pop culture – in Italy, they are more used to spending All Saints’ and All Souls’ Day religiously, in an austere fashion, but this tradition has been changing in recent years.

Other Halloween Celebrations

There is a Halloween celebration at the Devil’s Bridge in Borgo a Mozzano, one that was started in 1993 and has been going on annually ever since. It prides itself in being the ‘first’ and ‘biggest’ Halloween celebration and is comparable to a country fair, with special rides, games, and horror movie showings.

One can also find spooky attractions and entertainment in the medieval walled town of Corinaldo, in the le Marche region. Here, taverns and pubs and various games and activities are available, all culminating in a dazzling fireworks display show.

Amusement parks like Gardaland and Movieland have also started getting into the Halloween spirit, often changing the theme to a spookier, scarier motif and holding promotions for those who come in costume all throughout October.

Religious Observance

However, despite all these amusements, it is still more important to Christian Italians to remember their dead when Halloween comes around. On November 1st and 2nd, they celebrate All Saints and All Souls day by attending mass at church and setting the table for a bountiful meal for the spirits that roam the earth on these days to consume. In Italy, November 1st is a public holiday to give people the chance to do this for their departed family members and loved ones.

Church of Saint Dominic

On All Saints’ Day, Catholics troop to their local church and attend mass and other services to honor the saints and various martyrs who have lent their lives in the defense of their faith. People also tend to visit family graves and mausoleums and clean them and make them more beautiful with flowers and lanterns. Masses can sometimes be performed at the graves so that it can be blessed with holy water.

On All Souls’ Day, Italian Catholics attend special Requiem masses and remember those who have passed on, may they be family members, friends, or other loved ones. Votive candles are lit for them as well.

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By Priscila Siano (266 Posts)

Priscila Siano is the Marketing Director of Tour Italy Now, an online tour operator specializing in Italy travel. She's a respected expert on making dream Italy vacations a reality for clients.

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