Screamingly Good Fun

I grew up without that US import called Halloween and am none the worst for it. In Italy the  introduction of the festival came even later and it has divided the population. Fervent Catholics, and those against non-Italian traditions, oppose the event while others think it’s good fun for their children.

Yet there are ancient traditions and precedents for Halloween, in Italy. In many parts families used to leave a large meal out for ghosts of their deceased relatives, before they departed for church services –  these customs were cited by Ghivizzano’s parish priest in his sermon last Sunday.

It’s a fact that children love being frightened (provided that the fright will be strictly contained). Little Red Riding Hood is a classic example: at the puppet show in Pisa (see ) the screams of the children were even more alarming than the wolf himself!

Every year since 1998 Borgo a Mozzano has been the venue of one of Italy’s biggest Halloween festivals. The narrow main street with its tall ancient buildings on each side provide a dark canyon equal to any Transylvanian village and adds to the theatrically induced horror.

We first attended this festival in 2005 when the Passaggio Del Terrore (no marks for translating it) – held in the former abbatoir – with its demented knife-yielding psychopaths, lunatic asylum ECT victims and escaped blood-stained virgins from dysfunctional convents grouped together with snakes, vampire bats, flesh-eating worms, tarantulas and a multiplicity of freaks of various shapes and sizes to provide an appropriate frisson for visitors (and totally terrify a lot of us!).

This year we decided not to go, mainly because I had a cold. Good enough reason I suppose.

It’s sometimes a pity when you don’t attend something that you’ve been to for several years but there does come a time….

Anyway, if you haven’t been there you’re missing something – especially the spectacular fireworks over the Devil’s bridge.


2 thoughts on “Screamingly Good Fun

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