Easter In Italy- The Holy Week


Easter in Italy

It may be hard to believe just how important Easter is in Italy, here in the US, its not nearly as big.

Easter in Italy is arguably the most important holiday after Christmas.

Easter Sunday at the Vatican
Easter Sunday at the Vatican

Processions and Services

Processions and services will be taking place all over Italy all week long, staring the Sunday before on palm Sunday and lasting all the way until easter Sunday. From the “Stations off the Cross” in Rome to the huge mass held in St. Peter’s Square. 

In Italy, Easter Sunday begins with an large chocolate egg waiting for you. There is no Easter bunny, but there is plenty of chocolate all day.  I used to wake up to a dark chocolate egg, half the size of me and eat it for breakfast lunch and dinner on Easter Sunday, and still have enough leftover to have easter egg chocolate sandwiches all week long after school.

Italian Easter Eggs
Italian Easter Eggs

The Holy Week starts the day after Palm Sunday and ends on Easter day.

  • Holy Thursday

    Holy Thursday celebrates Jesus’ last supper with the Apostles. As a significant 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

    Holy Friday is the day when Christ died on the cross and is spent remembering that. In Italy, and different 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

    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

    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.
  • Easter Monday

    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.
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  • Thank you for sharing the significance behind every day of what is considered “Holy Week”. It must be beautiful, festive & very moving.
    The last supper was most likely a Passover Seder!