Venerdí Santo - Good Friday
I have spent a few Easters in Italy and loved everything about them of course! I learned how to make
'i fiadoni molisani' with my mother-in-law, a traditional puff type pastry filled with ricotta, and I experienced the Good Friday Easter Procession which was unlike anything I'd experienced before. There was a heaviness in the air all day, and when the procession began, with it's band and choir walking through the 'centro storico' (the historic centre) of Campobasso in Molise, followed by a sea of people dressed in black, I felt the goosebumps rise all over me and watched as a small city came together to mourn the death of Jesus Christ. I'm not particularly religious, but it was a very deep reflection of tradition and culture and one of those moments you don't easily forget.
There are many processions held right across Italy on Good Friday. You can find and watch a lot of them on YouTube. Here is a snippet from the one held each year in Campobasso.
Pasqua - Easter
You won't find the Chocolate Easter Bunny in Italy! L'uovo di Pasqua (Easter Eggs), La Colomba di Pasqua (Italian Easter Dove Cake) and La Pastiera (wholegrain ricotta pie, traditionally from Naples) are just a few of the sweets you'll find at an Italian Easter lunch.
Easter eggs represent new beginnings, and doves, the symbol of peace.
There is a saying in Italy though : Natale con i tuoi, Pasqua con chi vuoi! Which means, Christmas with family and Easter with whoever you like! Easter lunch is usually eaten like every other day at home with immediate family, and consists of a pasta dish for first course and for the main meal some capretto (baby goat) with a 'contorno' (side dish) like potato, greens and salad. For desert it is usually some 'Colomba di Pasqua', 'un amaro' (a digestive alcoholic drink) and an espresso. At Christmas we'd tend to hang around all day after lunch, but at Easter it would be out and about with our friends afterwards...
Here's a link to the Colomba di Pasqua Recipe -
Pasquetta - Easter Monday
Easter Monday, the day after Easter known as 'Pasquetta', is a national holiday. It is tradition to go on a picnic that day as by then the weather is usually perfect for it and just what's needed after the extremely long and freezing cold winter.
We would take panini (rolls) with cold meats or leftover meat from the main course served at Pasqua lunch, frittata (omelette), bread, cheeses, leftover pasta and of course il vino! It is definitely a fun day.
Buona Pasqua a tutti! (Happy Easter to all)