Offers Easter in Italy,
Tradition and ritual play a strong role in Italian culture, especially during celebrations such as Easter, the Christian holiday based on the pagan festival called Eostur-Monath. No matter what date Easter falls on, there are many ceremonies and culinary customs that are religiously upheld. Some traditions are regional, for instance the art of palm weaving, in which decorative crosses and other designs are created from the palms received on Palm Sunday.
Many Easter symbols in the folk tradition have pagan origins and involve pagan symbolism. First of all, there are chocolate eggs, a symbol of life beginning, of the passage from sleep to awakening, from winter to spring. The fact is that it was a pagan tradition to give eggs, as an augural sign, at the start of spring.
The rabbit too is part of the Easter symbolism. It is the symbol of Christ, for, being the ?Son of man?, He has no lair, no place to rest. It is also a symbol of life being regenerated, since its cloak changes colours with the seasons.
Easter Ceremonies in Italy
At Vatican City there are a series of solemn events that culminate in Easter Sunday Mass. During the spring holy days that center around the vernal equinox there are also many other rites practiced throughout the country that have their roots in historic pagan rituals. In addition, the Monday following Easter is an official Italian holiday called la Pasquetta, so if traveling be prepared for another day of repose.
Tredozio: on Easter Monday the Palio dell'Uovo is a competition where eggs are the stars of the games.
Merano: the Corse Rusticane are conducted, fascinating races with a special breed of horses famous for their blonde manes ridden by youths wearing the local costumes of their towns. Before the race, the participants parade through the streets of the town followed by a band and folk dance groups.
Barano d'Ischia: on Easter Monday the 'Ndrezzata takes place?a dance which revives the fights against the Saracens.
Carovigno: on the Saturday before Easter is a procession dedicated to the Madonna del Belvedere during which the 'Nzeghe contest takes place: banners must be hurled as far as possible.
Enna: religious rites dating back to the Spanish domination (fifteenth through seventeenth century) take place in this Sicilian town. On Good Friday, the different religious confraternities gather around the main church and over 2,000 friars wearing ancient costumes silently parade through the streets of the city. On Easter Sunday, the Paci ceremony takes place: the statue of the Virgin and that of Jesus Christ are first taken to the main square and then into the church where they stay for a week.
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