Easter in Italy

by LaLaItalia

Florence - Scoppio del Carro

You won’t find the Easter Bunny in Italy, but you will find some interesting Italian Easter celebrations. Easter, Pasqua in Italian, has its share of rituals and traditions.
The Monday following Easter, la Pasquetta is also a holiday throughout Italy. While the days before Easter in Italy include solemn processions and masses, Easter is a joyous celebration.

Religious processions are held in many towns on the Friday or Saturday before Easter and sometimes on Easter Sunday. Many churches have special statues of the Virgin and Jesus that play a big part in the processions. The statues may be paraded through the city or displayed in the main square. Parade participants are often dressed in traditional ancient costumes. Olive branches are often used instead of or along with palm fronds in the processions and to decorate churches.

Rome and St. Peter’s
While Easter mass will be held in every church in Italy, the biggest and most popular mass is held by the Pope at St. Peter’s Basilica. On Good Friday, the Pope celebrates the Via Crucis in Rome near the Colosseum. A huge cross with burning torches lights the sky as the stations of the cross are described in several languages. At the end, the Pope gives a blessing.

Florence – Scoppio del Carro
In Florence, Easter is celebrated with the Scoppio del Carro, explosion of the cart. A huge, decorated wagon is dragged through Florence by white oxen until it reaches Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence’s historic center. Following mass, the Archbishop sends a dove-shaped rocket into the cart, igniting the fireworks held in the cart. This spectacular display is followed by a parade in medieval costumes.

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