Updated: Nov 2, 2021
It was a real Ritual . On the evening of November 1st, the grandfather gathered us around the fireplace with the crackling flame to tell us what would happen in the night.
He began the story by saying: "Every year, on the night of November 2nd, it is customary for our loved ones who have died to return from the afterlife.
They come from a place of peace to rejoin the living on Earth, and ask them for prayers and supplications to reach the beatific vision of paradise".
While observing the movement of the flame, he continued: "Fire is a mean by which the souls in purgatory descend to Earth to purify themselves of sins".
That evening it was a must to keep the fire alive in the fireplace, to set the table with the tablecloth for the great feasts, the embroidered linen one received in the traditional wedding kit.
The dishes, cutlery and glasses received as wedding presents and reserved to special occasions.
The favorite dishes of the deceased were prepared when they were alive and arranged with care and abundance on the table.
The return of the dead to Earth was experienced as a party and the succulent dishes, water and wine allowed them to refresh themselves and stay until the early hours of dawn.
The sound of the bells marked their return to heaven.
At the stroke of midnight, we had to go to sleep immediately to avoid contact between the earthly and the otherworldly worlds, we would light candles to illuminate and guide the deceased to our home, who would offer us gifts in exchange for prayers.
The children, including us, went to sleep with the curiosity to know what we would receive in the morning and with a little fear of meeting the shadows of the dead in procession, but also with the hope of seeing again who had left us for a better life.
We rummaged in the stocking drawer to choose the largest stocking, which we would hang on the "Varrone" (iron door protection) and went to bed only after reciting the following ejaculation:
"Aneme sànde, àneme sànde, ije song sùle e vùije sìte tànde,
mèntre me tròve ìnde a nu mùnne de guaije,
de cumplemènde mettìteme assàije"
"Holy souls, I am alone and you are many
while I'm in this world of trouble
give me many gifts "
The stockings would be blessed when the spirits of the deceased family members passed by and when we woke up we children would have found them hanging from the fireplace stuffed with boiled chestnuts, mostaccioli, dried figs, pomegranates, quinces, carobs, walnuts, almonds, plums, oranges and fruit season.
For those who had not behaved well, a stocking full of ashes and coals arrived.
Great was the curiosity that animated us children upon awakening, when we wandered around the house looking for the gift placed by some dead relative and discovering sweet gifts.
It was a magical atmosphere!
On the morning of November 2nd we went walking to the cemetery to greet and thank the dead, bringing them flowers and candles as a gift.
We began our walk with the recitation of the rosary of the dead
"Aneme sànde, àneme purgant,
preghet Djie p' me,
che ije preghe p' te
che v djie subb't la glorije du Paravis
U Tern Padre e u sangh prizijius 'd Gesu"
"Holy souls, souls in purgatory,
pray to god for me
and I will pray for you to soon give you the glory of Heaven
To the eternal father and to the precious blood of Jesus "
The souls of the dead would have wandered, undisturbed on earth, until the day of the Epiphany, the day of the manifestation of Jesus.
As children they taught us not to be afraid of death because this is not a day of sadness , it is the feast of the dead and it is a moment of memories . And the gifts left , the joy and anecdotes related to loved ones at the same time celebrate the memory and arouse smiles .
To conclude, we wish you a beautiful and harmonious All Saints' Day feast, cherished by the warmth of your family and the affection of your deceased loved ones.