Local Traditions vs Halloween: “L’anima dei morti”
1 November 2018
This morning, millions of people in different parts of the world are taking apart fake spider webs, facing hangover from yesterday party or dealing with their conscience while looking at empty packages of sweets and candies.
However, in this period, many other people are still attached to their local traditions which proudly survive the Halloween “invasion”.
“L’ANIMA DEI MORTI” THE DEADS’ SOUL
When I was a child, not the 31st of October, but the 1st of November meant sweets at will.
What is globally known as “trick or treat?” takes the name of “deads’ soul” in my small paradise corner in Gargano. The origins of this celebrations come from the celtic tradition, whose calendar starts on November 1st. During this day people thought deads come back to the Earth for a short visit giving start to a series of rituals and customs handed down the centuries.
In my hometown, the 1st of November of each year, kids jaunts fill up streets since early afternoon, knocking at people’s doors to ask for sweets buy saying “give us the deads’ soul or we”ll break your door!”. Deads’ soul is represented by sweets and fruit that in ancient times were in really short supply, thus they were considered gifts from dead friends and relatives.
For the same reasons parents were preparing the “cauzetta” which in my dialect means little sock, namely a sock (that is actually quite big) full of sweets (and in the past also fruit) and sometimes toys. Parents would hide the cauzetta in the house making their children look for it and telling them it is a gift from beloved who passed away. Recently this traditions has affected also couples that give eachother the cauzetta.
The sock full of sweet is actually a national traditions in Italy although linked to the figure of Befana, a old woman who brings sweets to good children and coal to bad ones. It is celebrated on January the 6th, remembering the visit of the Three Wise Men to baby Jesus Christ.
In the last years, unfortunately, also the Deads’ soul tradition is suffering from globalization and nowadays kids look more attracted by Halloween celebrations than keen to preserve their local traditions. However this custom still resists and it makes me smile seeing kids knocking at doors on 31st of October shouting “trick or treat” but sent back home by old women who tell them it’s the wrong day and refuse to open their doors to give candies.
Do you have local traditions instead of Halloween? Or do you know any interesting story from all around the world?
From Puglia (a Southern Italy wonderful region), born in 1991, 1.63 meters…short! Master in International Relations, I care about human rights and our wonderful planet. I love cooking, volleyball, the sea, winning board games. I hate talking about money, being interrupted when speaking, winter, a badly made Margarita, losing board games.