We've moved from Baltimore, Maryland USA to Venice, Italy in pursuit of living our dream!

Monday, November 2, 2015

All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day

When I checked my email this morning, I found a message from one of the Italian language websites I subscribe to containing some vocabulary and a brief video related to the two big holiday's All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day on November 1 and 2.

All Saints' Day (Festa di Ognissanti), November 1, is the day Catholics honor all saints known and unknown. All Souls' Day (Commemorazione dei Defunti), November 2 is the day to remember dead loved ones, when everyone and their brother will be taking chrysanthemums to the cemetery.

These are two huge holidays in Italy. The first, Festa di Ognissanti is not only a religious holiday, but also a national holiday meaning banks, offices and schools are closed.

I attempt to do something each day to improve my Italian so this was perfect for today. I clicked open the message and looked over the vocabulary list. The list is helpful:

crisantemo - chrysanthemum
ognissanti - All Saints Day
regalo - present
candela - candle
visitare al cimitero -  visit the cemetery
anima- soul
castagna arrosto -roasted chestnut
pregare- to pray
onorare i defunti- honor the deceased
tomba- tomb
andare al mesa -  go to mass
pulire la tomba - clean the grave
biscotto di Ognissanti- all Saints Day cookie otherwise known as  Ossi dei Morti or  bones of the dead

The video contains both Italian and English translations.  If you are learning Italian, I've included the links to both of these here:



And also a recipe for the  Ossi dei morti cookies,  http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/mario-batali/ossi-dei-morti-recipe.html

Ossi di Morti (Bones of the Dead cookies)

In Italy, if you were named after a saint then you not only get to celebrate your birthday every day, but you also get a bonus celebration on your Saints Day. I got curious whether there was a Saint Karen.  A little bit of Internet research turned up the answer.  No, there isn't. Karen could, however,  be celebrated on St. Katherine of Sienna's day since Karen is a derivative of Katherine.  Please, we need a Saint Karen.

Interestingly, the Internet also turned up a few websites that sell Saint medallions, and there is a Saint Karen medal for sale.  Two websites also mention Saint Karen is either the patron saint of philanthropists or the patron saint of love, romance and intimate relationships. Hmmm.

The only other slightly interesting fact I turned up is that Venice's ACTV, the company that runs the vaporettos, runs an express boat to San Michele,  the cemetery island, from October 31 and November 2, to make it convenient for you to take those flowers to the dearly departed. Line DE runs from the Lido, Fondamenta Nove, and also Piazzale Roma.   Just in case you were wondering, "DE" stands for "Defunti" or deceased.  The deceased line. Makes perfect sense.


Natalie said...

I love that they run an express boat specifically for that purpose! We are visiting Venice from Rome for the first time in more than a decade for me, and the first time ever for my husband. Thanks for all your posts!

karen said...

Thanks so much for reading, Natalie, and for taking the time to leave a comment too! And while you are in Venice, besides. Enjoy today, it's a perfect fall day! Ciao!

Michelle said...

My first trip to Murano was on November 2, 2008. I couldn't figure out what all those people were doing on the vaporetto with all the flowers...and all the flowers were yellow chrysanthemums. But I soon found out when they all got off at San Michele and I had the boat pretty much to myself for the rest of the trip.
I don't think there was a separate express in 2008. But I could be wrong.
Ciao, ciao,
Michelle in(or at least near) Seattle where it is frigidly cold this morning.

Lynda Aurilio said...

Hi Karen, I actually celebrated my 50th birthday on November 1st. As a Catholic I always had off from school on that day, which was nice. LOL

karen said...

Buon compleanno, Lynda!!! You are a lucky lady to have had a holiday on your birthday!