November 1 is All Saints’ Day in Italy. In Italian it is called Ognissanti or simply I Santi. It is an official national holiday in Italy. All Saints’ Day celebrates all the saints of the Catholic church.
All Saints’ Day in Italy started around the 9th century. Today in Italy November 1 is a festive day. Italian families will typically visit their local parish for mass. And of course after mass they’ll celebrate with a nice long lunch among family and friends.
All Saints’ Day in Italy Traditions
The All Saints’ Day lunch may be unique to each Italian region and each family. Pane dei Santi, which means All Saints’ bread, is common all over Italy on All Saints’ Day. The bread dough includes raisins, figs and walnuts. The recipe is one piece of the puzzle. But the real secret to successfully preparing Pane dei Santi is knowing how to wrap the ingredients in the dough and then knead the dough. Watch the video below to see how it’s done.
Castagnaccio, a cake made with chestnut flour, is also common on All Saints’ Day.
All Saints’ Day is sometimes confused with All Souls’ Day, il Giorno dei Morti, which is celebrated in Italy on November 2. This holiday started in the 11th century. All Souls’ Day is not a national holiday. On this day many Italians return to the villages where they were born. They bring flowers to the graves of those who came before. It is a day to honor their ancestors and give thanks. The traditional flower for the occasion are chrysanthemums, which symbolize death in Italian culture.
All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day are not to be confused with Halloween, which is an American export only common in Italy in the last few years.
For more information about All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day watch the video below.
Click Italy holiday calendar for more information about Italy’s national holidays.