Ciao a tutti!
I hope you all had wonderful Easter weekends. As you would imagine, here in Italy (and more specifically Rome and the Vatican City) Easter is kind of a big deal.
La Settimana Santa or the Holy Week kicked off with palm Sunday back when Dad and Debbie were visiting. As I’m not religious and never paid much attention in RE, I was confused as to why Rome was filled with people carrying branches around until it hit me that it was Domenica delle Palme.
That day and in the days to follow, I saw several huge processions of people carrying candles and crosses and singing holy-sounding songs. The best ones were the ones with Gesù (Jesus) leading the way, often dragging his cross.
On Thursday of the Holy Week, Giovedì Santo, there was a reenactment of the Last Supper at St Peter’s Basilica, and Papa Francesco washed the feet of twelve priests (apparently, I didn’t go).
On Good Friday or Venerdì Santo there was the biggest and most famous procession called Via Crucis (Way of the Cross). I considered going because I’d heard that thousands of people would be gathered outside the Colosseum, but in the end I didn’t because I couldn’t bear the thought of the same thousands people squeezing onto the metro afterwards. I made the right decision; Martina and I turned on the TV for the first time since I’ve been here as we were cooking dinner (Italian TV leaves a lot to be desired) and it was truly packed in front of the Colosseum, everyone looking up at Papa Francesco in his golden throne under his red velvet canopy, looking very solemn and praying fervently. For all of two minutes I regretted having not gone; but it took me precisely two minutes to get bored of the monotone reading from the bible and whiny singing.
On Sunday, there was another huge mass at 10am in St Peter’s Square (it was a busy week for old Papa Fran), and again I didn’t go for four reasons:
- It was early
- It was raining
- Crowds of people on the metro – no thanks
- I’m not religious
So, now I’ve finished telling you all the things I didn’t do, I’ll now tell you how I did celebrate Easter, with a happy mixture of Italian and English traditions.
As the Italian saying goes, ‘Natale con i tuoi, pasqua con chi vuoi’ which means Christmas with your family, Easter with whomever you want. So I spent Easter with Martina and with myself, hibernating and eating the Easter treats that my lovely mum sent me.
I also tried an Italian Easter treat – a Colomba, which is a cake supposedly shaped like a dove, though I personally don’t see it.
Then on Easter Monday, or Pasquetta as it’s called in Italy (little Easter), the Italian tradition is to go and eat a picnic outside. Sadly, though, it rained most of Easter weekend with some spectacular storms on Saturday night, so the ground was too wet to picnic. Instead, Martina and I made a huge brunch and then spent the day watching the whole first season of House of Cards (and then a few more, for good measure). Overall, a fantastic Easter.
Buona Pasqua a tutti!