The common meaning of Easter and the reason for celebrating it was the death of Jesus Christ and his ensuing resurrection. Supposedly he arose from his tomb after he had been crucified to death on the cross and later took his place in heaven alongside God and the Holy Ghost. Despite the religious connotations, it is still cause for celebrations and festivals around the world. In Italy, the celebration of Easter is known as the Pasqua Festival and was named after Eostre, the spring goddess of the Anglo-Saxons.
photo by Max Miedinger
Christian beliefs are strictly followed in Italy during Pasqua and dominated by the Catholic religion. Other than Christmas, there is no more widely celebrated holiday in Italy than Pasqua. The carnevale activities signify the kickoff to the Pasqua Festival which were believed to introduce Lent. Easter takes place on Sunday the 8th of April in 2012 and the celebrations that take place during the Pasqua Festival will portray Italy’s traditional folklore during the celebration.
The most famous and well known carnevales take place in Ivera, Sicily, and Venice with the most attractive part of the event being the wearing of colorful masks that are representative of the spirits and witches that emanate from the demon world. Special statues of Jesus and the Virgin Mary are put on display throughout the churches of Italy while also being decorated with olive branches rather than the more traditional palm fronds. The Pasqua Festival also signifies the end of the Lenten season.
As fasting is common during Lent you will quickly discover food plays a significant role during the Pasqua Festival. While visiting Italy during this major celebratory event, you’ll be able to sample some outstanding cuisine such as artichokes, chocolate eggs, lamb, and special Easter breads. This is the perfect opportunity for visiting Italy this time of the year as cuisine is always a key part of vacationing in the country and the seasons are changing for the better as well.
One of the events that you do not want to miss at the Pasqua Festival is the Scoppio del Carro fireworks or as it is known in English, the “Explosion of the Cart”, a folk tradition in the city of Florence. A cart that is filled with fireworks and other types of pyrotechnics is rolled out on Easter Sunday and is then lit to entertain the audience.
The cart carrying the fireworks stands 30 feet tall and has been in use for more than five centuries. The tradition of Scoppio del Carro itself dates back to the time of the First Crusade. The cart is pulled by several white oxen and is decorated with spring’s first flowers and herbs. It is escorted by roughly 150 people including musicians and soldiers all dressed in 15th century garments.
Hotels in Italy
Hotel La Villa-Ivrea
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Hotel Tonic- Palermo
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Hotel Lanterna di Marco Polo- Venice
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