Dixie McIlwain is an American foreign language teacher who came to Florence on Florida State Universitys study programme many years ago. She is presently teaching English and writing a book on Anglo-American customs and traditions. After living in Japan, Germany, Singapore and seven U.S. states, she now resides in the countryside near Pontassieve with her vet husband and numerous animals.
Italy has a rich calendar of holidays and festivals but one celebration that is relatively unknown today is the religious feast of Candelora on February 2, when the Catholic church celebrates the Presentazione del Signore (Presentation of Our Lord). Formerly called the Feast of the Purification of the Virgin Mary,
Magic, witches, ghosts, vampires, werewolves, black cats, bats, spiders, skeletons, jack-o-lanterns, trick-or-treating and yes, the devil are all part of celebrating Halloween night. In and around the town of Borgo a Mozzano (about 20 km from Lucca) on the evening of 31 October, one of