It may be hard to believe just how important Easter is in Italy, here in the US, its not nearly as big.
In Italy, Easter is arguably the most important holiday after Christmas.
The Holy Week starts the day after Palm Sunday and ends on Easter day.
Holy Thursday celebrates Jesus’ last supper with the Apostles. As a symbolic reenactment of Christ’s actions, a priests, and even the Pope e, wash the feet of twelve people.
This year, Pope Francis washed the feet of twelve inmates and a baby in a local prison.
Holy Friday is the day when Christ died on the cross and is spent remembering that. In Italy, and other Catholic Countries, there is a mass held at Christ’s time of death, which is considered to be 3:00 pm. In Rome there is the reenactment of the Via Crucis held by the Pope, which is nationally televised.
Church Bells throughout Italy ring at 3:00pm as a reminder.
Holy Saturday is for silence and reflection. Mass is quiet, there is no choir or music and most importantly, no Eucharist. In the evening, there is a Vigil. Many Italian spend this quiet day at home preparing for Easter and cooking, although many Easter dishes vary from region to region, “Colomba di Pasqua” and Chocolate Easter eggs are very common throughout the country.
Easter Sunday is full of celebrations! There are commemorations and exhibits throughout Italy. Of course, mass is held everywhere, with a huge mass held by the Pope at Saint Peter’s Basilica.
This is referred to as “Little Easter” or “Pasquetta” in Italian, it is an official holiday, and is usually spent relaxing and enjoying spring. This day is about celebrating that Jesus was no longer in his grave. Traditionally, Italians don’t spend this day at home, they head to the lakes, mountains or countryside to celebrate. There are festivities around Italy such as the Racing of the Egg in Tredozio, and the Rolling of the Cheese in Ruzzolone.