HALLOWEEN. ALL HALLOWS' EVE. ALL SOULS. ALL SAINTS
|The winter woods of Serramonacesca|
Winter is traditionally a season of hardship and hunger with more people perishing at this time than any other, making it the perfect recipe for superstitious beliefs that evil forces have been let loose on the earth to arise. According to the Pagans, this is the time when the veil between our world and the spirit realm has become thin, the perfect time to reconnect with our ancestors and to honour those who have died.
It comes as no surprise that in Abruzzo, a land full of legends, beliefs, fables and stories, this curious interaction between Christianity and Paganism, nature and superstition, is still strong and surviving. Abruzzo is also a land where harsh winters can whip through the mountains and the old ways of living still guide daily life. Many still rely on their warmth and food over the winter in much the same way as they have done for generations.
None more so at this time of year than in Serramonacesca where the festival of L'Aneme de le Morte (the Souls of the Dead) is one of the most important festivals of the year for the villagers, attracting visitors from all over Italy and beyond.
L’Aneme de le Morte, aims to be a humble contribution to the rediscovery of the cultural roots of the village as a means of safeguarding the tradition for the new generations. I have been bowled over time and again by the strength of feeling amongst the villagers (young and old alike) that this festival should simply not become a faded memory overwhelmed by today’s more popular Halloween pranks and parties. And, my goodness, it is certainly succeeding!
|The alleyways of Serra lit by torches|
The vaulted cellars of the old houses, complete with open fires, low ceilings and meat hooks, become cosy corners for tastings of mulled wine, speciality beers, cooked meats and traditional sweets.
The little piazza have warming bonfires with chestnuts roasting over, there’s street theatre, street food, folk music and a “battle of the bands” amongst the traditional Abruzzesi musicians.
The pumpkin carving competition has to be seen to be believed with some of the most elaborate pumpkins I have ever seen. It's a great two days, and well worth the visit.
Friday 31 October
Saturday 1 November
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