Happy Easter – Buona Pasqua!!

Easter (Pasqua) is one of the most important holidays of the year in Italy and marks the beginning of the warm-season and outdoor activities. Popular festivals, concerts, religious rites and processions are just some of the events organized during this period.

The Easter date is variable since it coincides with the Sunday following the spring full moon. This year easter Sunday falls on Sunday 9 April.

The Easter celebrations begin the previous Sunday, to remember the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, which was welcomed by the waving of palm leaves. On this day it is not uncommon to see families and children returning home with palm branches blessed in the church.

Thus begins the Holy Week: Thursday remembers the recurrence of the Last Supper and of the “Eucharistic celebration”. Good Friday is the day of Via Crucis when the streets light up with torches and are crossed by processions that retrace the process and the death of Jesus. On Saturday at midnight, the bells announce the Resurrection.

Easter Sunday is the most important day, Lent, the long period of fasting, is over and decorated eggs, dove-shaped cakes and chocolate eggs are distributed. The egg, symbol of life that renews itself and hopes for fruitfulness, is connected to the meaning of Easter as the feast of spring and the awakening of nature. Hard-boiled eggs are often decorated and taken to Saturday mass to be blessed or baked into special Easter breads.

In Italy, Easter Monday is called Pasquetta, or Little Easter, and this is the last day of celebrations. It remembers the meeting of the winged messenger with the women who came to the empty tomb. It became a public holiday in the national calendar only after World War II, to prolong the Spring break.

Those who stay or visit Italy are spoiled for choice among the many traditions and costumes that can be admired in every city and village during the Easter holiday.

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