Like all holidays in Italy, Easter, Pasqua in Italian, has its share of rituals and traditions.
Two years ago we had a trip in Sicily for 3 days around Easter. So today post will be illustrated with photos from this trip.
In sud Italy olive branches are often used instead of or along with palm fronds so Sunday one week before Easter you can buy olive branches on the street. This Sunday is called Palme Sunday.
Then go Thursday of the Easter week called Giovedi santo. In sud Italy we have tradition to visit this evening or morning of Friday uneven quantity of churches. It called Sepolcri. In the evening this day Brindisi is full of people visiting churches. Thursday the women and children bring in the Church so-called wheat of Christ. The wheat is made grow in a pot or tray of clay, and it kept in the dark to grow it thinner and clear. In Sicily traditions are still strong and you can see on the photo many pots with wheat of Christ:
wheat of Christ in Taormina
Solemn religious processions are held in many towns on the Friday or Saturday before Easter and sometimes on Easter Sunday. Many churches have special statues of the Virgin and Jesus that play a big part in the processions.
When we was in Sicily Easter Sunday we visited small and beautiful town Noto.
Cathedral of Noto
One men explained that at midday will be meeting of Virgin and Jesus. We was intrigued by this and found some place with good view we waited midday.
It was not long to wait. And what we see was surpassed all our expectations. From both sides of the square with the free passage of people the statue of Virgin and Jesus run towards each other. Of course, they did not run, but the people who carried them (I can say they are very heavy), but the feeling was just so, because the statue dominate over the human mass. When the statue met - fireworks, firecrackers, incredible sound exploded around on the square. In the air flying crackers and it was impossible to understand what is happening.
On the photo are the papers of crackers - "Happy Easter" is written in different languages. It's so cute)
Only after returning we read on the internet that this procession in Noto is very famous.
There is a saying in Italian that says, “Natale con i suoi, Pasqua con chi vuoi” – which means you’re supposed to spend Christmas with your immediate family and Easter is for you to spend with whoever you like. Practically speaking, however, Easter Sunday is still a time when people often get together with family and you know, families in Italy are very big) I don’t know how many persons will be this Sunday, maybe 25.
The Monday following Easter, la Pasquetta (a diminutive of "Pasqua") is also a holiday throughout Italy. Some cities hold dances, free concerts, or unusual games often involving eggs. It’s time to spending with friends. A very popular Easter Monday tradition is to pack a big picnic and drive out into the countryside.