The 1st of November is a bank holiday in Italy, known as Tutti i Santi or Ognissanti, which celebrates all saints and is followed by All Souls Day, known as “I morti”, on the 2nd of November, a day devoted to honor the dear ones who have passed away.
The tradition wants that the alive relatives prepare gifts and sweet for children during the night. When they got awake and found these presents, the relatives told that during the night the souls of passed away relatives brought toys and sweets to them.
This tradition empathized the importance of a connection between past and younger generations, the importance of honor with memories the loved passed away and teach to the children to don’t be scared by death.
To thanks the died relatives for the presents, the parents go with the children to visit the cemetery and leave flowers on their graves. In these days the Sicilian cemeteries are an explosion of colors and scents of fresh flowers.
The different Sicilian sweets typical of this period are the Martorana fruit, similar to marzipan but sweeter and tastier, made with the ground almonds and sugar; its preparation and packaging creates perfect imitations of fruits and sometimes vegetables or fish and the “Ossa dei Morti” that does indeed mean “the bones of the dead” and they have a dense, spongy base (the beige bit) with a crisp, hollow white cap (the imitation bone).
Another sweet tradition in Catania are Rame di Napoli, a triumph of chocolate and marmalade. The name is probably due to an ancient coin of the Borbonic Age.