One thing about Italy that you might not know is that Easter is the second most important holiday of all, just after Christmas.
As a largely Christian country, and primarily Catholic, celebrating the resurrection of Jesus is a tradition certainly not to be missed.
Religious processions all of over the country, from north to south and east to west, congregate hundreds of thousands of people, if not millions.
Statues of Jesus and the Virgin Mary are carried around for hours on the streets of cities, towns and villages.
Palm leaves and olive branches are placed outside houses and on Easter cakes, while the Pope addresses the nation from St Peter’s Square, in Rome.
The long celebratory weekend, culminates with Pasquetta (meaning Little Easter), or as it’s known in the UK, Easter Monday.
One curious fact about Pasqua in Italy, is that, unlike Christmas, a primarily family-oriented holiday, you are free to spend your Pasqua as you wish.
There’s even a saying for that in Italian;
“Natale con i tuoi, a Pasqua con chi vuoi.”
Which translates as;
At Christmas with your parents, at Easter with whomever you want.
That way, it’s very usual to see young people spending the long weekend with friends in the countryside or just visiting other cities and towns around the country.
One of my favourite Pasqua Italiana traditions is the Scoppio del carro, which takes place in Florence, on the morning of Easter Sunday.
In it, an antique cart ispulled by a team of white oxen during a parade of 150 soldiers, musicians and other people dressed in 15th-century attire.
The cart is packed with fireworks and set on fire and the biggest the explosion is the most successful the year is to be.
This tradition dates back to 350 years, celebratingPazzino di Ranieri de’ Pazzi, a Florentine knight who raised the Holy Cross banner in Jerusalem during the Crusades.
Now, since we’re talking about Italy, we simply cannot forget the most important of all things, and certainly my favourite too.
Since every Italian holiday has it's own traditional foods, Pasqua, would certainly not be left out.
Some of the most commonly found foods are;
The Colomba, a traditional Easter cake often made with candied peel and almonds.
The Colomba is the counterpart of the two worldwide known Christmas desserts, the panettone and the pandoro.
We also have our traditional hard-boiled painted eggs, where you can choose how you’d like to paint your own eggs, which can include a more monochromatic option, by boiling the eggs with various spices, vegetables or fruits. Some of the most common dyes are: beets for red, vinegar for brown, saffron for yellow, and blueberry for blue.
And we certainly can’t forget the most recognizable Pasqua symbol of all, the Easter Egg!
Extremely popular across the whole country, the oversized chocolate eggs, which always carry a surprise inside, are a must.
I took a lot of inspiration from my Italian Easter celebrations, when creating my very own, alternative to Easter Eggs, Lavolio Nutty Mini Eggs.
For my Easter favourite, Nutty Mini Eggs, I not only wanted something different, I wanted something exquisite, luxurious and sophisticated. A truly Italian sweet, handmade with carefully selected nuts and chocolates. And presented in my beautifully designed tins, with a delicious spring feel to it.
So that’s it for now, I hope you’ve enjoyed learning about these Italian Easter traditions and…
Buona Pasqua a tutti!