Easter in Italy – processions and food


Like all holidays in Italy, Pasqua is an event rich in rituals and traditions. The Monday following Easter, la Pasquetta is also a holiday throughout Italy, so if traveling be prepared for another day of repose (Italians usually go to the seaside for a fish-based lunch).

Solemn religious processions are held in many towns on the Friday before Easter and sometimes on Easter Sunday. During the processions statues of the Virgin and Jesus may be paraded through the city or displayed in the main square. Parade participants are often dressed in traditional ancient costumes. Olive branches and palm fronds are held in the processions and used to decorate churches. While the days before Easter in Italy include solemn processions and masses, Easter is a joyous celebration and one of the most important points, as we are in Italy, is food.

Since Easter is the end of the Lent season, food plays a big part in the celebrations. Traditional Easter foods include lamb or goat, artichokes, and special Easter breads that vary from region to region.

Although there is the old Italian saying “Christmas at home and Easter with whomever you wish”, Easter is an occasion for families to reunite around a well-set table. Traditions vary greatly from place to place but here you can find a top selection of Italian Easter food.

1. Easter breakfast
Families from Italy’s central regions prepare a nest for the Easter breakfast, containing holy Easter bread, salami, wine and colored boiled-eggs. They usually go to the church on the Saturday before Easter to let the nest be blessed with a catholic ritual.

2. Easter breads and pies
These are not the standard breads one buys day-to-day in Italian bakeries, but rather something more: Breads that contain cheese, sausage, salami, a lot of butter and even hard-boiled eggs.

3. Fresh peas
Fresh peas are one of the most eagerly awaited signs of Spring in Italy, and no Easter table is complete without them. The most classic Italian way of preparing peas is with pancetta or prosciutto and parsley.

4. Roast lamb
The lamb is a central feature in the Christian religions and many Christian cultures prepare lamb shaped dishes during Easter (i.e. Polish butter lamb). In Italy the leg of lamb is a typical Easter lunch dish.

5. Easter Soup
It´s the classic beginning to Easter dinner, usually made with an equal amounts of beef and lamb and cappelletti (small rounds of pasta stuffed with meat, cheese or vegetables)

6. Colomba
This dove shaped breads are often given as gifts. It´s made with almonds, sugar and egg whites.

7. Chocolate eggs
Italian kids won’t wait for the Easter bunny. Instead of that we have lots of other sweeties, for instance chocolate eggs, which usually come with a surprise inside.


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