Italian traditions and holidays are celebrated year-round, and each season brings new and exciting festivities that are observed throughout the country or regionally. Through unique Italian cuisine, processions and other aspects of Italian culture that make Italy stand out from the rest, global traditions and celebrations have a way of adopting an Italian feel that makes traveling to the country for the holidays well worth it.
Approaching rapidly is the Easter season, known in Italy as Pasqua. While in the United States we have our own Easter traditions, the Italians celebrate the holiday in quite a different fashion. Much like how it is celebrated in the U.S., Italy looks upon Pasqua and the surrounding days as an exuberant time to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. However, many of the Easter traditions that we have here are not celebrated in Italy.
Like many other celebrations and times of gathering and togetherness in Italy, a large focus of the Pasqua holiday is centered on the food. Because food in Italy is largely dependent on the region, traditional Pasqua foods vary on location. Pasqua breads are a typical cuisine that varies greatly based on where you are for the holiday. Colomba is a type of sweet, cake-like bread that is common in regions like Milan during the Pasqua season, and it can even be given as a gift. In northern regions of Italy, bread called gubana is typical during the Pasqua season. In Sicily, Italians eat Pastelli di Pasqua, a traditional Easter bread that is custom to the season. Regardless of what food is being made for the holiday, it is sure to be an important part of the celebration when in Italy.
Food isn’t the only form of celebration in Italy. During the Pasqua season, processions and parades are a typical ritual to celebrate the season. In all areas of the country, parties and parades and other forms of celebration are common on both Good Friday and Easter Sunday. Some regions, like Sicily, have processions for the entirety of Holy Week, and they tend to be emotional and truly unique, moving experiences.
Rome and the Vatican City celebrate the holiday like no other place in the world. The largest mass in Italy is held by the Pope at Saint Peter’s Basilica, and Holy Week in the Vatican City begins with a special mass by the Pope in the same square. Mass is also held on Holy Thursday. Celebrations throughout the city are common throughout the entirety of Holy Week, or Settimana Santa, as it is known in Italy.
The Easter season is celebrated worldwide, but Italy infused the holiday with its own individual spirit and tradition that can be found nowhere else. Culture is an important part of all holidays, and Italian tradition through food and celebration creates an aura during Pasqua that cannot be matched anywhere else in the world.