Easter, together with Christmas, is one of the most important Catholic festivities. During the Easter Holy Week, Catholics celebrate Jesus Christ’s Death and Resurrection. It is celebrated during the first Spring full-moon Sunday, and therefore its date changes every year.
The Holy Week is full of traditional representations all over Italy and the Catholic World: from Holy Thursday (when the Last Supper is celebrated) till the Angel’s Monday, every region, and even every city, has its own religious events commemorating Jesus`s last week on Earth.
Festive events start the previous Sunday, when the Catholics remind Palm Sunday: it is a moment of great joy as they are celebrating Jesus’s arrival in Jerusalem, where He was greeted as the Messiah. At Palm Sunday, believers exchange blessed Palm or Olive branches, to be kept in their houses for the whole years.
On Holy Thursday, the Catholics celebrate Jesus`s last supper, by taking their Holy Communion and reproducing the foot washing ceremony (that is, Jesus washing the Apostles’ feet as sign of humility).
The Holy Friday is a deep mourning day, which is commemorated fasting and taking part in one of the million torchlight Via Crucis processions. A traditional Via Crucis is composed of 14 “stations”, each of them representing a passage in Jesus’s Passion, his way to the Calvary while carrying his own Cross, and his crucifixion. In Rome, the Pope himself celebrates a Via Crucis, around the Colosseum and through the magnificent ruins of Ancient Rome.
On Holy Saturday, at Midnight, bells start ringing joyfully, announcing Jesus`s Resurrection.
On Easter Day, Believers express their joy and faith attending the Mass and celebrating with their families: a traditional Eastern meal includes painted boiled eggs, lamb, salami, some wonderful traditional cakes like colomba (you can find it at Cost Plus) and Pastiera (you can order one at some Italian bakeries, and it is definitely worth the money!!!) and, of course, an incredible amount of huge chocolate eggs with surprise gifts inside!
On Angel’s Monday, Italian families are used to going picnic in the country with friends, celebrating the arrival of the Spring and the rebirth of new life!