Easter in ItalyItalian Festivals and Celebrations for Holy Week Scirin Sharef
• Easter, Pasqua in Italian, has many rituals and traditions. The days before Easter in Italy include solemn processions and masses.
• Easter begins on Palm Sunday, and culminates the following week on Easter Sunday.
• Easter week, or Holy Week is celebrated in many diverse ways across Italy, reflecting regional differences.• Solemn religious processions are held in many towns on the Friday or Saturday before Easter and sometimes on Easter Sunday.
• Parade participants are often dressed in traditional ancient costumes.•• Olive branches are often used instead of or along with palm fronds in the processions and to decorate churches.
Rome and St. Peters• The biggest and most popular mass is held by the Pope at St. Peters Basilica. On Good Friday, the Pope celebrates the Via Crucis or Stations of the Cross in Rome near the Colosseum.
• A huge cross with burning torches lights the sky at the same time the stations of the cross are described in several languages. At the end, the Pope gives a blessing.
Holy Week on the island of Sardinia• On the island of Sardinia Easter rituals are very suggestive and strongly influenced by “la Semana Santa” in Spain.
Holy Week in Cagliari, the capital city of Sardinia• Holy week rites are still observed in Cagliari by three different brotherhoods of the historical quarters who lead the processions and rituals.
Holy Week in Iglesias, Spanish influence in Sardinia• The Arciconfraternita of the Sacro Monte has been in charge of organizing and performing Christs mystery plays during the Holy week rituals in Iglesias since 1616.
Easter food• Although the Easter table may vary greatly from region to region across Italy, there are some basic elements that are commonly found everywhere.
Eggs• Eggs are considered a symbol or renewal and life. Chocolate eggs are often given as gifts, they usually come with a surprise inside.
• The table is decorated with coloured eggs.• Many children wake up on Easter Sunday and find eggs scattered about their rooms.
Lamb• Lamb is the symbol of birth: the most important dish is agnellino, roasted baby lamb.
Dove• Dove symbolizing peace with the famous Easter sweet bread the Colomba Pasquale.
Chocolate bunnies• Although chocolate bunnies are not typical they are given as gifts each Easter. They can vary in size, from very small, to huge and heavy, and they all contain a little gift or surprise in them.
Easter Monday - La Pasquetta• The Monday following Easter, la Pasquetta is also a holiday throughout Italy.• On Easter Monday, some cities hold dances, free concerts, or unusual games often involving eggs. Easter Monday is a time to gather with friends and have fun.
• Easter Monday is often enjoyed in a more informal setting, or everyone heads outside to enjoy the spring warmth and picnics with family and friends.My last Pasquetta in the Bologna hills