The Solemnity of All Saints, celebrated on November 2nd every year, is one of the most cherished feast days in Sicily: even if it is known as a “commemoration of the dead”, the island celebrates it with a zeal that is unique from the rest of Italy.
It hasn’t much to do with the exuberant, but still lugubrious, Halloween celebrations: for Sicilians, All Saints’ Day is connected with the popular belief according to which, on the night between November 1st and 2nd, the souls of the dead return home to visit their loved ones and bring them gifts.
This is why the tradition of giving gifts to children on this day of the year, just like on Christmas Day, developed over the centuries. All the towns in Sicily get livened up with fairs, events and stalls that overflow with toys and traditional sweets, as well as with votive candles that people place, as a gift, on the grave of their loved ones.
All Saints’ Day traditional sweets: U Cannistru
All these sweets and delicacies are usually arranged in a wicker basket, which is traditionally called “Cannistru”. Sweets are the main characteristic of this festivity: in Sicilian homes and in bakeries they make “” rel=”noopener” target=”_blank”>crozzi ‘i mottu” (words for “bones of the dead”), cookies that are extremely hard to chew, but really loved for their sweet taste.
There are a lot more traditional recipes: taralli coated with sugar icing, pupatelli filled with toasted almonds, chocolate and much more. Then, the basket gets filled with seasonal dried fruit and other typical delicacies of the local culinary tradition, such as Frutta di Martorana, almond paste sweets, and the Pupi di Zucchero, which are sugar figures representing paladins from the Chanson de geste.
A very interesting time to visit Eastern Sicily is during the Commemoration of the Dead and All Saints’ Day festivities, because they are really cherished and celebrated with zeal in all the towns of the area. If you are guests at Dimora Edel, you can ask us for the traditional sweets of the season and we will guide you in your search for the flavors of the amazing town of Modica.