copyright, 2009, Maria Liberati
Editor: Kate Hollinger
Spring Holidays are tasty ones. Easter and Passover have so much tradition and history that they remind us of.
The lovely spring holiday of Easter, named after the Goddess of Spring, Eostre, is an important celebration in Italy today due to its traditional Roman Catholic roots. In Italy, this holiday is known as Pasqua, a holiday that is a 4 day long event that marks the end of the six week period of Lent. Easter is very important to Italians because it symbolizes the end of six weeks of suffering or fasting, which is done by staying away from meat on Fridays during Lent and then fasting from meats completely from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday. After displaying the culinary discipline, the meat finally reappears again on Easter morning – and that is when they go all out!
The festivities start as early as the week before Easter, as in Palm Sunday. But the real feast begins on Easter Sunday. On Sunday morning, the table is set with eggs and pepperoni or egg omelets called frittatas as well as lots of breads. Pani Pasquali means Easter breads and they are often made with cheese; meat such as sausage or salami; and even hard-boiled eggs. Pane di Pasqua is another option, which is braided bread with colored eggs stuck in it. Another festive version of Easter bread is called Colomba, which are breads shaped like ducks, doves, and even babies. There are also dessert breads served such as panettone, a fruit bread, and other sweet breads.
It isn’t until later in the day that more of the roasted meat is served, from capretto (baby goat) to lamb bought from the local butcher. These are often served with vegetables such as artichokes, aged cheeses, pasta, and antipasto. Desserts are also served such as pastiera which is a ricotta cheesecake type of pie that usually also contains rice or grano, and the traditional hollow chocolate eggs with surprise gifts inside. The following day, Easter Monday, is called Pasquetta and is a legal holiday throughout Italy. Most people do not work but instead have picnic celebrations with lots of cheese and wine.
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