Easter day changes with every new season and, this year, it occurs at the end of March.
What doesn’t change is the way it is celebrated. Traditional events, parades and menus pop out every Holy Week, no matter the day or the month it is held.
In Italy, Easter is deeply felt and celebrated. Every city has its own way to honour such an influential and meaningful event.
Let’s have a look at those worth a mention and even a visit!
Italian cities proudly hosting Easter events
Punta e cul, Credits photo: http://bit.ly/24mZgpK
Easter celebrations orbit around the animals that constitute a symbol of this holiday.
Starting from the north of Italy, Bormio, in the territory of Sondrio, is a must-see of your Italian Easter itinerary. Bormio citizens have been organizing for centuries a true rite for the arrival of Easter and, thus, the arrival of spring.
The rite sees five lambs, one of the symbols of the Christian celebration, blessed while, in the meantime, the city quarters compete one against the other.
Going a little southern, you’ll reach another Easter touchpoint, that is to say Urbania, in the territory of Pesaro.
Here, the true protagonist is the egg. First, it stands in the centre of a game known as punta e cul.
The rules are extremely simple and come from an ancient time when the egg was a valuable exchange item. People meet in the squares and the streets and place their eggs on the pavement, so that they create as S shape. Each participant chooses his egg and then gently taps it on his neighbour’s egg. The winner is the unbreakable egg as well as its owner.
Scoppio del Carro, Credits photo: http://bit.ly/1Q83mbO
The dove has been taken up by Florence as its own Easter badge and as the protagonist of the so called Scoppio del Carro (Float Burst), which dates back to the first Crusade.
A float is carried by white oxen from Piazzale del Prato to the Duomo: when they reach their destination, a white flare, symbolizing the dove, burns the fireworks in the float. The tradition says that if the burst happens at the first shot, then Florence is supposed to have a truly positive year.
Moving southern, animals are left aside and people become the main characters of the celebrations.
In Messina, for example, the Festa dei Giudei is an event that sees hundreds of farmers and shepherds floating around the streets dressed in an extremely scenic way.
They wear red trousers with yellow stripes and floral decoration. On their heads, they have a red hood with a cross stitched on it: they represent the devil and they move around the village undisturbed, creating chaos and stopping parades celebrating Christ’s resurrections. Only on Easter day, they are finally defeated.
Festa dei Giudei, Credits photo: http://bit.ly/1oZYtuI
Easter celebration comes along with food preparation
Pastiera, Credits photo: http://bit.ly/1L8flJE
Apart from parades and games, Easter is also famous for its many traditional delicacies.
First and foremost, the dove. The legend says that, in the VI century, Albonio King of the Lombards received a cake shaped like a dove from Pavia, which he had sieged.
It was a symbolic request of peace and, from that moment on, this simple yet tasty dessert is served in the entire Italy to remind Christian values. It’s made of nothing but eggs, flour, yeast and enriched with butter, sugar and almonds: the difficulty stands in the cooking technique.
Try to skip the supermarket versions and head to a true pasticceria: you’ll get the true dove, colomba, experience.
Another story surrounds the pastiera, an Easter food typical of Naples. Fishmongers’ women used to leave baskets with ricotta, fruit, wheat and eggs on the seashore, in the attempt to give something to the sea in return for their husbands.
The ingredients in the basket are nothing but the ingredients that make the pastiera, a cake worth a couple of slices.
Another dish, and this time not a dessert, is the so called Torta Pasqualina: a quiche with eggs on its crust. Brace yourself, loosen your belt and get ready for the Italian Easter experience!