23 Mar 10 things to know about Italian Easter – just in time!

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picus-cat-01Here we are, just in time! In the middle of a very special week, the one before Easter.

Just in time to tell you something about how we, as Italians, live this week.

Actually,there will be more than 10 things to tell you: traditions to honor, ceremonies (for those who believe), things to eat, Confraternites to meet. Yes, Confraternities. Because, before beginning with the list, you have to know that this is a week in between faith and tradition, when the schedule is really busy for lots of villages who have to honor traditions coming from Medieval age, sometimes.

top-10 italian easter traditions

1.Lentils’ seeds. Everything starts 40 days before Easter, when kids usually plant lentils’ seeds on vases. They will water them everyday and keep the vases in a dark room. The plants will grow as white long filaments (because of the lack of light) and will finally be brought to Church for the set of “Sepolcro” (see point 6!).

2.”Natale con i tuoi…Pasqua con chi vuoi!”. Translated means “Xmas with yours, and Easter with whoever you want!”. A very popular proverb used in Italy as an excuse to celebrate Easter festivities not in-family. Even though I can swear most Italians do not follow the saying because…Easter grandmas’ lunch could not be missed for nothing in the world, just as Xmas one!

3.Chocolate egg. Which is not an Italian tradition. However, chocolate and cakes in Italy are usually eaten at Easter after Lent’s “Fioretto” is over. “Fioretto” comes for “flower” and is a surrender Catholic people use to make during Lent to honor this period of reflection and Jesus’ sufferings. Usually it consist in not eating cakes, candies and chocolate. So, Easter-day-chocolate-egg means the end of this period of sacrifice (especially for kids!).

4.”Le Palme”. The Sunday before Easter, all Catholics go to Church to take their blessed branch of palm to remember Jesus enetering Jerusalem on a donkey’s back, praised by the crowd. The thing is…as we do not have plenty of palms in Italy…we use to bring back home blessed olive’s branch.

5.Egg Pizza. Is not a proper pizza…well,is not a pizza at all actually! It comes from Puglia, where is known as Scarcella. But is common in lots of Italian region as mine. The pecualiarity of this cake are the raw eggs put on the surface, fitted in the dough before putting it in the owen. Is a good luck cake too eaten during Easter lunch.

scarcella cake easter

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6.The making of “Sepolcro”. It is tradition to step from one Church to another on Holy Thursday visiting “Sepolcri” which means “sepulchres”. Every Church makes its own representation , every year different, of Jesus’ last dinner using different symbols such as a set table for twelve. Is tradition visit and pray the whole night in front of Sepolcri.

7. Holy Friday. The most busy day in whole Italy. Full of celebrations and rituals. First, is a a day of Fast, you can’t eat flesh or better, you can’t eat at all if you can. Moreover, all Catholic goes to Church after lunch to ear a preacher till 3 o’ clock pm, when Jesus dies and all becomes silent for some minutes.

8. Confraternities. We should write an article just to tell all about the beautiful, traditional and full-of-faith rituals that village’s Confratenities stage every year on Holy Friday night. From Sicily to Lombardia, the celebrations are different and all so felt. The whole population, believers or not, usually take part. Because is more than just faith. Is about tradition and roots. Each Confraternity has its costume and is procession or relic to honor. And I think this is one of the most intense night of the year. When you can feel community and taste what being Italian really means.

italian holy friday celebration


9. Ciambella di Pasqua. Is another cake, very special and colorful! A sort of ring-shaped donut called “Easter Donout”. Is tipical of Le Marche region. And for me, there is no Easter without this sweet tradition. It does not have a special taste, on the contrary is pretty flavourless except from the white frosting with colorful sugars covering it! It’s so…spring!

ciambella le marche easter

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10. “Pasquetta”. That’s how in Italy we call the Monday after Easter. Is a day we usually use to enjoy first spring sun, going for small trips in the countryside or making BBQ with friends.



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