For Italians, Easter is the second most significant religious holiday after Christmas. The festival has the same importance for Italians as Thanksgiving Day has for Americans. While an Easter bunny is not common in Italy, you can find other traditions that keep the Italians busy with Easter celebrations.
Dominated by Christian faith, Italy celebrates Easter with great fanfare and vigor. Known as 'Pasqua' in Italian, everyone revels in the festive spirit of Easter, by indulging in fun games and concerts. The proverb ‘Natale con i tuoi, Pasqua con chi vuoi’ meaning ‘Christmas with your relatives, Easter with whomever you want’, perfectly suits the festive spirit of Easter in Italy. Celebrations in Italy chiefly include church services, parades and fireworks. The festivity begins with Carnival activities, which form a preface to the season of Lent that signifies grief and misery. Venice, Ivrea and Sicily are the greatest hotspots, where Easter celebrations are held with splendor and magnificence.
The most significant Easter ritual of Italy is the purchase of Easter eggs when the church bells ring. Every family celebrates the event by making ‘Frittata’, a dish similar to an omelet. Rome, also known as headquarters of Christianity, holds a procession on this day, preceded by the Pope. In this holy ritual, the Pope explains the ‘Passion of Christ’ on the day of Good Friday. In Florence, a performance is held, where the ‘scoppio del carro’ (‘explosion of the cart’) is enacted. In this act, a fanciful cart, led by white oxen, is driven to the Easter Mass where firecrackers and dove-shaped rockets are set off.
Another prominent Easter ritual in Italy is the Barano d'Ischia, the customary dance and merino and the popular horse race. Delicacies and mouth-watering dishes are not too far behind when its Easter celebration time in the country. The festival also marks a luxurious and extravagant feast, wherein all the traditional delicacies are prepared. Agnellino, or the roasted baby lamb, forms the most important dish on the occasion. Another must-have in Italy during Easter are eggs, that are found in soups, such as Brodetto Pasquale (a broth-based Easter soup thickened with eggs) and various kinds of breads, such as Pannetone and Colomba (dove shaped).