Monday 29 March 2010
Easter in Italy- Italian Festivals and Celebrations for Holy Week
Easter Sunday begins with a bang in Florence - quite literally! The three hundred year old traditional 'explosion of the carte' (Scoppio del Carro) has its roots in the pagan ritual of ensuring a good harvest" and is now considered a bringer of good luck for the city of Florence.
Since Easter is the end of the Lent season, food plays a big part in the celebrations. Traditional Easter meals vary from region to region, but eggs and roasted lamb are common elements everywhere. Eggs represent life, fertility, and renewal, all of which are essential symbols of Easter. Dyed eggs grace many Easter tables, and eggs are often found in soups and in a traditional Easter pie (Torta Pasqualina). Roasted lamb, as a symbol of birth and the Shepard, is a traditional main course. Chocolate bunnies are not common, but beautifully decorated chocolate eggs are a traditional Easter treat and gift! Chocolate eggs are a symbol of Easter even for non religious people. Everybody gets an egg for their dear ones. Most chocolate eggs are industry produced. Every serious cake shop produces finely hand made eggs, using the best chocolate they can get. Inside each egg is hidden a small gift. Or not so small, depending on how luxury the egg is! It is also possible to request a custom made egg, selecting in advance the gift it will contain. Many engagements began in Easter, with an engagement ring hidden in an egg.
The official Easter cake is the Eastern Dove (Colomba) that represents peace.
Easter Monday - La Pasquetta
On Easter Monday, some cities hold dances, free concerts, or unusual games often involving eggs. In the Umbrian hill town of Panicale, cheese is the star. Ruzzolone is played by rolling huge wheels of cheese, weighing about 4 kilos, around the village walls. The object is to get your cheese around the course using the fewest number of strokes. Following the cheese contest, there is a band in the piazza and of course, wine. Easter Monday is a time to gather with friends and have fun.