The end of October and the beginning of November represent the end of the summer period, the time when the earth moves away from the sun and the days begin to become shorter than the nights. Nature prepares for winter, trees slowly strip off the leaves and fog makes its way through the middle of the lagoon.
The commemoration of the dead is celebrated throughout the world.
Halloween is a traditional Anglo-Saxon festival that does not belong to our popular culture. It has Irish origins and is a pagan festival that was replaced by the Catholic Church with the feast of All Saints on November 1. After Protestantism broke the tradition of All Saints, the Anglo-Saxon context continued to celebrate Halloween as a secular holiday.
In the United States, from the mid-19th century, the festival spread (especially due to Irish immigration) until it became, in the 20th century, one of the main American holidays.
The word Halloween is a contraction of the full name All Hallows’ Eve, which translates to “Night of All Sacred Spirits”, that is, the eve of All Saints.
The practice of masquerading is based on the late medieval practice of alms, when poor people went door-to-door to All Saints ‘on 1 November’ and received food in exchange for prayers for their dead on the day of the Commemoration of the Dead (November 2). This custom was born in Ireland and Great Britain, although similar practices for the souls of the dead are also found in Southern Italy.
In Venice, the popular tradition of the celebration of the saints and the deceased in the first days of November remained very strong. So, while October 31st we celebrate Halloween as if it were an early Carnival, November 1st, All Saints’ Day, schools are closed, everyone is home from work and you eat the typical Day of the Dead treat: sweet favettes, biscuits pastel almond paste and sugar.
It is said that eating such confectionery brings good luck, as they recall the protection of deceased loved ones, so that they can protect from the rigidity of winter. Also legend has it that already in the 7th – 6th century. B.C. in the Mediterranean area the beans were linked to the world of the dead because the flower of this legume is white but stained in the center of black (symbol of death) and constituted a means of direct communication between the world of the dead and the world of the living because they were considered able to transfer the souls of the transfer into living beings.
This year in Venice there will be the traditional floating bridge that starts from the Fondamente Nuove and reaches the island of San Michele, the cemetery of the city. It will be open exclusively to Venetians until 3 November inclusive to respect the intimacy of the cult of the dead. It will then be open until November 10.