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Buona Pasqua! - Happy Easter

Italian easter traditionFor Americans who are accustomed to coloring easter eggs and baskets with chocolate bunnies, Italian Easter is a change of pace.

Church, family, friends and food are the core of this celebration. Carnevale signals the beginning of Lent and Easter celebrates the end of the season of fasting and penance.

"Christmas at home and Easter with whomever you wish" is an old Italian saying, but traditional Italians often celebrate Easter with a huge family meal on Easter Sunday - the eating often starts at noon - and gatherings with friends wait until Easter Monday.

Pizza Rustica or Easter Pie is made in many regions to mark the end of meatless meals. Served on Saturday afternoon or before dinner on Easter Sunday, this meat pie is a delicious treat at any time of the year.

Breads are also a big part of the festivities and Pani Pasquali or Italian Easter Bread comes in many shapes and sizes.

Abbacchio Al Forno, roasted baby lamb is a favorite choice for Easter dinner. Many vegetables and pastas and occasionally a lasagna complete the meal. One of my favorites is carciofi ripieni, stuffed artichokes.

A special treat for grownups and kids of all ages are the uova di Pasqua, Italian hollow chocolate Easter eggs. Perugina or Kinder eggs are the most popular but any hollow chocolate egg will do. Each egg holds a surprise. Specialty candy shops in Italy allow you to supply the gift.

In the 15th century the nobility encased works of art and other extravagant items in these enormous chocolate eggs. The modern versions are a bit more modest, but may still hold jewelry or other valuable gifts. Some romantics have been known to hide an engagement ring inside for a sweet proposal on Easter morning.

Easter is a celebration of Spring, rebirth and the end of a long Lenten fast and a longer winter. In Italy or in America it is a time for peace, hope and joy. Eating good food, sharing the holiday with family and friends and enjoying the new warmth of the longer days is a wonderful way to mark the end of another winter - Italian style!

Buona Pasqua!

also see -> Italian Festivals & Holidays


Elsewhere on the Web:

A Taste of Easter
Buona Pasqua! Easter in Italy
Easter Week in Italy


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