The romans believed that the ghosts of Herodias and Salome were condemn to wander on a broom at night to espy the sin of beheading St John the Baptist, and on that night, all witches met in St John’s square.
The romans left their homes and gathered in the square to pray and eat snails.
They believed the witches were curious and therefore would have spent the entire night counting the amount of salt grains and broom strands.
Everybody spent the night together in front of the cathedral, eating, praying and making noises to chase the bad spirits.
At dawn, the night ended with a papal celebration and a blessing. Popes also used to throw coins from the Lateran loggia.