Girl in Florence aka Georgette Jupe

I started this blog as a writing outlet for me to share what it is I adore about the beautiful city of Florence and Italy also sharing travel tips and stories along the way. Now 'Girl in Florence' includes advice for Florence, artisan features, interviews with locals, tips for life in Italy and travel posts from all over Europe. I'd love to think of myself as a fearless badass but If I am keeping it 100% real on this blog a quote that I sort of live by is"I haven't failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work." I hope you enjoy this journey with me.

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All Souls Day in Italy: Festa nel Giorno dei Morti on November 2nd

02.11.2020 No Comments

Well guys, if you can believe it, it’s already November. For those who don’t already know, in Italy, on November 1 and 2, people celebrate All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day. All Souls’ Day is celebrated by Catholics around the world, as well as a few other Christian denominations hence why you’ll find it present in Italy with traditions varying by region. 

It is important to note that while the Ognissanti Holiday is a national one (except this year when it lands on Sunday), the 2nd is not a day off sadly we are not privy to a long weekend not that it matters much anyway these days. 

The origins of celebrating the dead go back to the beginning of the middle ages and probably far beyond. According to the BBC, Odilo, Abbot of Cluny first designated All Souls’ Day in the year 998. While Christians had always prayed for the dead, this time, there was a specific day dedicated to remembrance and prayer. The fact that it falls so close to Halloween is no accident: according to History.com, it’s widely believed that church officials chose the dates for both All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day in an attempt to replace Samhain, a Celtic festival that took place on November 1. The evening before All Saints’ Day became All Hallow’s Eve, or Halloween (Source Refinery 29). 

All Souls’ Day by William-Adolphe Bouguereau (via Wikimedia Commons)

This is a holiday about remembered one’s deceased ancestors something I was more aware of within the Latin American community growing up in Texas with the classic El dia de los muertos celebrated by my mother and my extended family in Mexico. Sometimes with full-on picnics and parties on gravesites. If you want to see what it’s like (in non pandemic years) check out this photo series by The Guardian from the Mexican city of Oaxaca. 

In Italy, the tradition at this time of the year is to bring flowers to the graves of the dead. Typically, a chrysanthemum (because they typically bloom in this period) though I do guess that they might limit cemetery entry due to coronavirus restrictions. 

Also on this day, you can expect a number of traditional foods because we are in a country that celebrates everything with food (so many options in Sicily alone). I have even read that some rituals including leaving an extra place setting at dinner for a long lost relative. This article by The Local talks about the variety of All Souls Day traditions around the boot. 

The dolci dei morti, sweets of the dead made on All Souls’ Day are often placed on tables set on the night between 1 and 2 November for the dead who return to visit relatives. They have different names from fave dei morti almond-shaped cookies from Perugia, the Piedmontese ossa d’mort, and in the south, you’ll find the Frutta di Martorana, similar to marzipan, made with the shape of fruit and more.

Le fave dei morti di Perugia by Cantalamessa via Wikimedia commons

I have to admit that despite growing up in a religious setting I am not so much myself. However, I do think there is a sort of poignant beauty in celebrating those who have passed on and thinking about their lives. Instead of hiding from cemeteries and dealing with death, I like the idea of having some sort of connection, spiritual or otherwise, as grief for losing someone you love is not something that ever really goes away. 

Have you ever heard of this holiday or celebrated yourself? Let me know in the comments! 

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GirlInFlorence

Georgette Jupe is a 'Tuscan Texan' digital social media marketing maven based in Zug, Switzerland and Florence, Italy. When she's not at her day job as editor at ITALY Magazine, she's creating social strategies for international clients and providing travel, foodie & life tips via her blog 'Girl in Florence'. Hobbies include plenty of reading, hiking, beagle cuddles, the hunt for the 'perfect' flat white and laughs with the girls.

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About Me

About Me

Hi There!

Ciao, I'm a curious American "Tuscan Texan" who has called Florence, Italy home for the past 13 years and now you'll find me between Firenze and Zug, Switzerland. Besides the blog, I am the editor at Italy Magazine and I also work as an established digital social media marketing strategist (5+ years) as well as a freelance writer. You might have seen my articles in Lonely Planet and a feature on my blog in Forbes. This space is my way to share what life is like living and working abroad, as well as provide up-to-date true advice on traveling, eating and living in Europe with tips for weekend trips. I'm married to a wonderful Frenchman and we have a Florentine beagle who rules the household. Keep in touch with our adventures with your favorite glass of franciacorta or espresso!

Georgette

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