Italy Today

Celebrating Easter in Italy

Traditions and food characterizing the Bel Paese at Easter time

Celebrating Easter in Italy

Claudia Astarita

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Italian Easter has specific rituals and a calendar Italians do not want to miss out. Three days are particular relevant, i.e. Good Friday, Easter Sunday and Easter Monday, better known as 'Pasquetta'.

During the Good Friday, a lot of religious processions take place throughout the country, where statues of crucified Jesus and the holy Mary are carried around or displayed in central squares. As a symbol, churches will be full of olive and palm twigs.

On Easter Sunday, Italians love to enjoy good meals with family and friends, mostly in homes. Conversely, on Easter Monday is a tradition to go on a 1-day trip or to go out for lunch. Often, Italians like to go to the seaside and be delighted with a fresh seafood menu.

As a result, an essential element of this festivity is food, presented in a number of varieties according to the particular region.

For instance, for Easter breakfast, families from central regions normally prepare a basket containing an Easter cake, capocollo (similar to salami) and hard-boiled eggs decorated by children. According to the Catholic costume, these baskets are brought to church on the Saturday to be blessed and eaten the day after.

Many kinds of bread are prepared across the country, but the most popular ones are those seasoned with pancetta, olives, cheese and butter. Green peas are also a tradition at Italian tables for Easter lunch, along with roasted lamb, the main symbol.

After a huge lunch, Easter dinner is usually characterized by something light, like a broth with some pasta.

The Colomba (dove) is another core symbol of Italian Easter. Sprinkled sugar and almonds on the top characterize this delicious dessert, whose name reveals its dove-shape. The Colomba is also exchanged as a gift between family and friends.

Last but not least, Easter eggs are essential especially for kinds, who enjoy their surprises together with some good chocolate.

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