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How Does Italy Celebrate Easter Sunday?

March 10, 2024
2024-03-10
Italy, the country where the Vatican City is located, takes religious holidays very seriously. This is no surprise considering that the Pope is technically a resident here, not to mention the fact that Italians have remained staunchly Roman Catholic. The faith isn't just their religion, it's practically their way of life, and you'll see it best during holidays like Easter Sunday. How do you think Italy celebrates Easter Sunday? With the Easter Bunny? Certainly not! Italians forego the more commercialized aspects of Easter Sunday and practice their local traditions such as indulging in Italian holiday dishes, hearing mass with the Pope, and continuing the fun on Easter Monday.

How Does Italy Celebrate Easter Sunday?


Playing with Colorful Easter Eggs

If you thought the Americans invented Easter Eggs alongside their Easter Bunny, think again. The tradition of painting and giving colorful eggs on Easter Sunday has long been a staple in Italy. They just do so without the bunny! That's more of an American thing. For Italians, however, “Le uova di Pasqua” (Easter eggs) symbolize fertility and rebirth, perfect for commemorating the day that Jesus Christ rose from the dead. So for the longest time, Italians have been celebrating Easter Sunday by giving colorful chocolate eggs to each other. The chocolate part is most important too. Italians prefer chocolate Easter eggs to normal painted ones that they have to hunt for.


Holding Processions and Parades

Much like how Spain celebrates Easter Sunday, Italy also holds grand processions on the street. Technically speaking, they hold these events in the week leading up to the holiday, which is the Holy Week or “La Settimana Santa.” During this time, they trot out statues of Mother Mary and the Crucifix to tell the story of how Jesus suffered on his way to the cross. Some places, like Taranto, a town in Sicily, for example, take it a step further. In this town, hooded devotees called the “Perdoni” parade down the streets wearing crowns of thorns, similar to what Jesus wore as he made his way to Mount Calvary.

How Does Italy Celebrate Easter Sunday?



Angels and Devils Clash on The Streets

Let's stay in Sicily for this next one. On this beautiful Italian Island in the Mediterranean, people dress up as either angels or devils on Easter Sunday. They call this the “Ballo dei Diavoli,” or “The Devil's Dance.” True to its name, the red-clad devils dance and harass people on the street as they try to stop the meeting between the “Madonna” (Mother Mary) and the risen Christ. People dressed as angels then drive them away by ringing bells, putting on a dramatic but exciting scene of good triumphing over evil. And isn't that what Easter Sunday is all about?


Serving Easter Dishes & Desserts

No Italian holiday tradition is complete with some traditional desserts! And on Easter Sunday, there's a good many of them! In the province of Lombardy, for example, where you'll find Milan, people serve “Colomba” during the holiday. This is a dove-shaped bread made with egg whites, sugar, and almonds. If you head on over to the South, specifically in Naples, you'll find that they serve “Casatiello” here instead. It's a salty but delectable cake packed with cheese salami, sausage, and hard-boiled eggs. This is more for the adults while the little ones collect and indulge in chocolate Easter eggs.

How Does Italy Celebrate Easter Sunday?



Hearing Mass with The Pope

Let's not forget that for most Italians, Easter Sunday is still more of a “holy day” than an ordinary holiday. As such, it's become a tradition for them to hear mass on this day. But what makes their tradition unique compared to other Catholic countries is that they get to hear mass with the Pope too. He lives in the Vatican in Rome, Italy's capital city, after all, so it's easy for Italians to catch to his Easter Sunday mass. Thanks to the power of television and online streaming, the rest of the Catholic world can catch up too, but they still have to contend with the time difference.


Easter Monday Fairs

One of the more unique holidays in Italy is Easter Monday. That's right! Italians continue the festivities even beyond Easter Sunday. You could even say that they’re livelier and more boisterous on Easter Monday than on Easter Sunday. They still have to respect the solemnity of the latter, after all. Mass and prayer are as big a part of the Easter Sunday celebrations as parties and parades. Hence, Easter Monday is when they go all out! Go to Courmayeur in the Alpine Aosta Valley region, for example, to experience Foire de la Pâquerette. It's a standard fun fair with snack stalls, games, music, dancing and more held every Easter Monday.

How Does Italy Celebrate Easter Sunday?


Italy might just be one of the best places to celebrate Easter Sunday. The country has many fascinating holiday traditions, from delicious regional dishes to grand processions with extravagant floats and colorful costumes.



#easter-sunday   #things-to-do   



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