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|Easter Traditions : Easter in Italy
Read on to know about Easter traditions and celebration in Italy.
The deep influence of tradition and ritual in Italian culture is
reflected in celebrations such as Easter. Known as La Pasqua, Easter
celebration in Italy is marked by many rites observed throughout the
country that have their roots in ancient pagan rituals. The Holy Week
celebrations across Italy reflect regional differences, and are remnants
of religion, peasant lore and pagan influences.
On Palm Sunday the churches are bedecked with baskets of palms and
olive branches and once they have been blessed by the priest they are
given out to the congregations. Thousands of people throng the St.
Peters Square on Palm Sunday to receive the palms blessed by the Pope
after Mass has ended. On Giovedi Santo or Holy Friday, many churches
re-enact the ceremony of the washing of the feet at the altar.
Among the myriad of Easter traditions in Italy, Scoppio del Carro,
meaning explosion of the cart, is the most spectacular one. For over 300
years the Easter celebration in Florence has included this ritual,
during which an elaborate wagon, a structure built in 1679 and standing
two to three stories high, is dragged through Florence behind a fleet of
white oxen decorated in garlands.
Like in many other countries, in Italy the fasting of Lent is preceded
by a carnival with colorful pageants, masquerades, dancing, music and
all kinds of merrymaking. The Carnevale begins in January and lasts
until Ash Wednesday. The activities and merriment of Carnevale precede
the somber overtones of the Lenten season.
The Easter dinner is usually a sumptuous feast arranged with special
delicacies. The most important dish is agnellino, roasted baby lamb.
Eggs feature prominently in the day's dishes, in both soups such as
Brodetto Pasquale, a broth-based Easter soup thickened with eggs, and in
many breads, both sweet and savory.