Easter traditions in Italy
Easter in Italy is a great deal.
Easter in Italy is a triumph of old, beautiful and evocative traditions. Everywhere in Italy, especially in the South, in each little town celebrates the resurrection in its own special way.
That Italy is a Christian and Catholic country is not a mystery, but few know how intensely Italians live their religion in this important time of the year, more than any other holiday.
Something not to be missed for whoever is passionate about old traditions, is the procession that happens on the “Holy Friday” (Venerdì Santo), the Friday just before Easter. Many are the stories, the figurative images chosen to be represented. In Trapani (Sicily) and Taranto (Apulia) you will see men with black long tunic with hoods walking barefoot from one church to another, in symbol of penitence, while in Palermo masks of demons and scarecrows representing death, that will be later destroyed during the parade.
The parades contemplate of course religious symbols and images, as the cross, the crown of thorns, carried around through the most important streets of the town and followed by the citizens. Sometimes the cross is carried by 12 men representing the Apostles, like in Procida (near Naples) while other times there is only one man carrying a big wood cross, representing the passion of Jesus. Other towns decide to focus instead on the icon of the Virgin Mary, by dressing her statue with mourning clothes, and the women following the parade are dressed in black as well (Alghero, Sardinia).
On Easter Monday, in the town of Orsogna (Abruzzo, center Italy) wagons parade in the city centre carrying paintings depicting scenes from the Old and New Testament and set up with living actors. A show that combines theatre and devotion and offers new and different images inspired by the Bible every year, attracting people from everywhere.
The extraordinary collective emotional involvement, the attention to details and the magnificence of the statues and religious pictures are an attraction for religious tourists as well for whoever is passionate about art and mankind, or about Italy. It is such an incredible phenomenon to witness nowadays, so far from modernity and current times. It is indeed a jump in the past.
In Italy, Monday right after Easter Sunday is a vacation day. To extend the family time in the Eastern holiday,
“the Monday of the Angel“,officially became a vacation day in Italy in the 1900s. As to tradition, one must go for a picnic, preferably with a barbecue, together with family and friends.
Contact us for your next trip: plan your visit in a little Italian borgo and discover the most incredible Easter traditions!
Subscibe to our newsletter to get more insights about Italy!