Is animeddas

Few people know that in Sardinia there is a recurrence similar to the more famous Halloween which is celebrated on the night between October 31 and November 1, Is Animeddas, the festival of souls.

There are many similarities, for example the tradition of the carved pumpkin, sa conca ‘e mortu (the dead man’s head) with the little light lit in front of every house, so we can hypothesize a common matrix, even if the Sardinian version is accompanied by the recurrence religious while Halloween is more linked to the pagan rituals of the ancient Celts.

According to the beliefs, in those days the doors of Purgatory open and the souls of the deceased are free to wander in the places where they lived.

The festival is called in different ways depending on the area, is animeddas in the Campidanese, su mortu mortu, is panixeddas or su benes’ e sas animas in the Goceano and Barbagia, su peti coccone in Baronia and pedire sos moltos in Logudoro, but in all Sardinia is celebrated in much the same way.
The children, dressed in rags and masks, form a funeral procession that wanders through the streets of the town and knocking on every door ask for a gift for the most unfortunate souls, reciting ancient nursery rhymes. The offerings initially consisted of seasonal fruits or dried fruit and the traditional pan ‘e sapa, a dessert made from grape must baked in the oven, or traditional sweets and breads, carved in the shape of dolls for girls or birds for the boys. The gifts were placed in sacks, baskets or handkerchiefs tied by the flaps.
Meanwhile, the families prepared a frugal meal for the dead and left the table set all night, so that they could eat undisturbed.

Some details can be found in the stories of those who lived Is animeddas as a child.
It all started in the afternoon, with the tolling of the death bells that continued until midnight the next day, creating a gloomy and sad atmosphere, except for the excited children who were getting ready for begging. Once around it was considered indelicate to knock more than once but often it was not even necessary, because the ladies were ready to welcome the little ones with affection and all good things, recommending the souls of their dead, po s’anima de figgia mia , or de mamai, or de babai (for the soul of my daughter or dad or mom). At sunset they returned to deposit the booty and before eating what was received, they prayed for the souls as requested.
The rite ended the next morning, the day of the Dead, with the religious function.

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