Celebrating Easter (Pasqua) or Passover (Pesach) in Italy is one of the most joyous occasions of the year! It is end of winter and nature’s rebirth. For everyone it is a time to enjoy the banquet of flowers popping up everywhere, the Primizie ( first delicious vegetables and fruits) sprouting and the sun shining longer and brighter.
Pasqua is considered the most important religious event of the year. During Holy Week, from the northern regions to the southern tip of Italy more than 3,000 symbolic enactments are staged with countless rite, processions, feasts, traditions and sacred performances. On Venerdì Santo (Holy Friday) the inhabitants of hundreds villages slowly make their way along ancient roads—sometimes on bare feet—carrying torches to commemorate the Passion. Then, on Pasqua Sunday the tables of the Italians are vibrant with early spring vivacious colors of fresh flowers, peach tree stems, and beautiful colorful eggs.
Pasquetta (“Little Easter”) is the Monday immediately after Easter and also a national holiday, The usual custom used to be a “fuori-porta” (beyond the gate) short trip off on a family picnic day.
A popular Italian saying: “Natale con i tuoi. Pasqua con chi vuoi.” “Christmas with your family, Easter with whomever you like” have nowadays changed the traditions and most Italians spend Easter holiday on a mini-vacation visiting the museums opened in major cities, filling up restaurants, or bearing the driving hours on highway to be at a nearby beach or a hilltop .
The season’s freshest vegetables all play a part in the feast:
- Artichokes (carciofi)
- Asparagus (asparagi)
- Fava Beans
- Young green beans
April Recipe: Carciofi alla Giudia (Roman-Jewish Style Artichokes)
Pairing wines with Artichokes