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"HE IS RISEN FROM THE DEAD"
“Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead” (Matthew 28:2)
Easter is the most important religious festivity in the Christian liturgical year. During this day Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus after the third day after his crucifixion. Easter is a moveable feast, that is it’s not fixed to the civil calendar since it follows the cycle of the moon. In 2008 Easter fell on Sunday 23 march.
A bit of history first ! The Easter festival among the Roman Catholics is preceded by a 40 days of fast and abstinence called Lent (in Italian Quaresima) beginning on Ash Wednesday (Mercoledi delle Ceneri). Holy week of Lent begins with the observance of Palm Sunday, celebrating Jesus’ triumphal entry to Jerusalem where the crowds waved and laid palms at his feet. Holy Thursday (Giovedi Santo) commemorates the Last Supper that Jesus had with his apostles before being crucified. Friday in Holy Week is the anniversary of Jesus death on the Cross. Easter celebrations begins on the night of Holy Saturday with the Easter Vigil, which ends with the Eucharist (also called ‘Holy Communion’).
TRADITIONS: FROM FAST TO FEAST
During the Holy week in Italy in every italian region exhibitions, local feasts, rites and processions are taking place in the streets where the penitents walk (in some cases even barefoot and in chains) holding torches and praying. Even the bells in the churches stay mute from Friday until Easter to evoke the pain for the crucifixion.
With the Last Supper episode, that is with Jesus dividing up some bread and handing the pieces to the disciples, it already states clear that food holds a major significance in this festivity. That’s the reason why on Easter food remains in different ways the main character: eggs are given (real ones, hard boiled and often painted with decorations or the more common ones are the chocolate eggs ), as symbols of rebirth and fertility, since Spring usually starts in this period as well; Lamb is usually cooked and a dove- shaped Easter cake is served (the traditional "colomba") , which are evident symbols of the Passion. Other typical Easter cakes are "Torta Pasqualina" whose main ingredients are ricotta, arthichokes and eggs and the delicious "Pastiera Napoletana" with corn, butter, ricotta and candid fruits.
The day after Easter is officially the celebration of the Angel announcing the resurrection of the Lord to the women at his tomb. In Italy Easter Monday is a bank holiday, and in Rome, as well as in other Italian cities, organizes cultural events. Italians traditionally spend this day among friends, having pic nics, doing outside activities or organizing trips somewhere.. and what about you? Got any plans for a trip during your spring vacation ? March and April are ideal to get discounted Rome hotel rates in Italy Hotels.
Read a relatad blog about Easter in Italy …
And want to know more about April Festivals in Italy ?