Easter is one of the most important holidays in Italy. A visit to Umbria during the Easter holidays is an event not to miss. Little towns and cities celebrate Easter with processions, religious rites, holy representations and folkloristic traditions.
“La settimana santa” the holy week leading up to Easter Sunday marks several important events. On Palm Sunday branches of the olive trees are blessed in church and people will keep these in their homes all year. Kind of a good luck charm.
Good Friday is the day of mourning over Christ’s death. During the evening there are masses in the towns’ churches. In Bevagna, a small medieval village close to Montefalco, during the religious procession the Chistians showcase the dead Christ along the main street. In many churches, the interior is black with only burning candles inside. “La processione di Cristo morto” is a very suggestive experience in Umbria, in many villages it’s as if you go back to medieval times. Places worth a visit during the holy week are Assisi, Orvieto, Bevagna and Gubbio.
On Saturday, the day before Easter, one can go to church to get the eggs and other dishes blessed. I have been told that you should not just throw away the shells of the blessed easter eggs. They have to be burned otherwise it brings you bad luck. All this according to my Italian neighbor.
The Italian mammas spend most of their times in the kitchen preparing traditional Easter dishes: lamb, rigatoni alla Norcina, cheese bread “torta di Pasqua”, Italian Easter Dove cake “la Colomba” and chocolate Easter eggs. In every little village, in a local bakery or in any supermarket you’ll find a huge variety of chocolate eggs!
On Easter Sunday family members and friends spend some time together at home. They go to church and serve the traditional Easter breakfast and lunch.
The following Monday “Pasquetta” you won’t see many Italians at home. They head out for a day trip to town or to natural areas, like the Trasimeno Lake or the Cascata delle Marmore in Umbria.
– Posted by Sylvia van der Male –