Italian Easter traditions
Depending on where you are in Italy, it is very likely that out of your window, instead of snow, you will see a warm sun and the blooming flowers brought by the spring beginning. It’s a big religious celebration, it’s bank and school holiday and family gathers. Happy Easter everyone, or Buona Pasqua in Italian.
There is a popular saying that sounds like “Natale con i tuoi, Pasqua con chi vuoi”. If you pronounce it correctly, it actually rimes. The meaning is that you spend Christmas with your family, while you can spend Easter with whoever you want.
Despite whom your Easter companions are, as in every important moment of the year, Italians meet and spend a joyful day, celebrating, eating delicious food and toasting. From north to south the typical Easter food might vary, even though the ending is always sweet and with a surprise.
Asparagus starts to be a seasonal vegetable, so chefs – and especially mums, that are always the best chefs – get very creative with them. You can eat boiled asparagus served with a cheese or anchovies´ sauce or in a steamy risotto.
Almost everywhere, lamb is a typical food often eaten in this occasion. Stewed or baked with potatoes is a rich main, very appreciated. No panic for vegetarians: instead of lamb they can enjoy the divine “torta pasqualina”. This is a savory cake, made with chard or spinach, ricotta cheese, herbs and eggs. According to the tradition, the chef has to overlap 33 thin layers of pasta to make it. 33 like the Christ’s years when he died.
But the best part comes with the dessert.
A very loved one is pastiera napoletana, typical of Naples. It is a delicious cake, very difficult to properly make. Some of the main ingredients are flour, wheat, ricotta cheese, orange, lemon, cinnamon. Simply divine!
Colomba – that in Italian means dove – it is also a very popular dessert. This is a cake made in the shape of a dove, with flour, eggs, butter, sugar, candied fruit and almond. It can be considered the Easter counter part of the Christmas Panettone. The dove is the symbol of Easter and peace. This meaning comes from the Bible when after the deluge, a dove brought an olive twig to Noah as sign of reconciliation with God.
But the Easter dessert most loved by the kids – and secretly by the adults as well – is the Easter egg! This egg is made of dark or milk chocolate and it can be of different size. From the very small ones, that you can eat in a bite to the ginormous that can weight up to 10 kg. What makes the Easter egg so unique and loved is the surprise. In fact, when you open the egg you find a small surprise, like a little toy or a bracelet.
We do hope that this year the surprise inside the Easter egg, will be a smile and the hope that the world can recover soon from this tough beginning of 2020 and that we can start travelling again.