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  • Easter, Lenten Traditions and Carnevale in Italy

    Battaglia delle Arance (Battle of the Oranges)
    For three days the northern town of Ivrea, which is in the province of Turin, Piedmont, turns orange as they celebrate the Battaglia delle Arance (Battle of the Oranges). This is just one of the many festivals that takes place throughout Italy during Carnevale, which marks the beginning of the Lenten season. What makes this festival just a bit crazier than the other celebrations throughout Italy is that the people literally throw oranges at each other.

    Carnevale is one of the long standing traditions of the city of Venice. No matter when the first Carnevale actually took place this event has turned into one of the greatest festivities in the world.

    Carnival of Putignano
    Carnevale is a tradition celebrated throughout Italy and marks the beginning of the Lenten season. One of the oldest and definitely the longest event in the world takes place in the ancient town of Putignano in the Puglia region of Italy.

    Dance of the Devils (U Ballu di Diavulu)
    On Easter Sunday in the small town of Prizzi not far from the city of Palermo in Sicily an annual event takes place called the U Ballu di Diavulu (Dance of the Devils). It is an epic battle between good and evil.

    Easter Baking Traditions
    Spring has arrived full of pastel colors and tulips and daffodils blooming. Colored Eggs, Bunnies Hopping, Easter Bonnets and Easter Parades, all signs that Easter is right around the corner. Time to also start thinking about baking Easter breads and sweets for your Easter breakfasts, brunches and dinners.

    Easter: An Italian Child's Perspective Our Paesani -
    Like most religious holidays, Easter is taken more seriously in Italy than it is in the United States. Many people - even those who don't usually go to church - attend Mass throughout Holy Week and on Easter Sunday. Many participate in outdoor reenactments of the Stations of the Cross. Although you'll find chocolate eggs stuffed with toys in many a store window, you will not hear mention of the Easter bunny or chickadees or Peeps. Still, the children in Italy look forward to this time of year and have traditions that uplift their religious faith but also are entertaining.

    Easter in Italy Our Paesani -
    Deep purple, hot pink, dusty blue, and bright yellow are just a few of the glorious colors that wash over southern Italy at Easter. This five part article takes a look at the religious and spiritual experience, the holiday, food and the day after Easter, which is still a holiday in Italy.

    Easter Traditions
    From frittata to dyed Easter eggs to the coraesema here are a few of the traditions my family observes during Easter.

    Easter Traditions Never Die
    As a child in Italy as others that lived in small towns, we slaughtered our own lamb/goat. You could not have Easter without lamb. Anna shares with us her Easter memories from years past.

    How to Dye Easter Eggs Using Onions
    Did you know that you could make golden brown Easter eggs with the skin of onions? This Italian tradition has been in my family for generations and it is a great way to make dyed eggs for Easter. Here are some step-by-step instructions for you to make your own dyed eggs using onion skins.

    How to Host an Italian Easter Party for the Ages Our Paesani -
    Easter in Italy is all about faith and food. Some people spend the Holy Days and Easter Sunday in Rome with nearby Vatican City as their ultimate destination. I, on the other hand, have spent the holy season in Ischia, an island off the coast of Naples in Italy that is the home of my ancestors and husband. But you don't have to go to Italy to experience an authentic Italian Easter. In my experience, this is all you need to pull it off.

    How to Make an Italian, Stuffed Chocolate Egg Our Paesani -
    In every supermarket in Italy, you will find large chocolate eggs stuffed with gifts during the Easter season. Some chocolatiers and pastry shops will also make a customized egg for you, so you can fill it with whatever trinkets you like. Follow these easy how to instructions to make your own Italian stuffed chocolate egg.

    How to Have an Italian Easter Party Our Paesani -
    My Italian husband is spending Easter, his first holiday - other than Thanksgiving, which is not celebrated in Italy - in the United States with me in 2010. My goal is to make this one special feast. If I'm to do it correctly, I'll have to bring Italian Easter to him in the States. Here's some of what my husband is probably expecting and which you might want to infuse into your Easter celebration.

    Italian Easter Dessert Table Our Paesani -
    A look at any party blog and you'll learn that dessert tables are all the rage at events big and small these days. Alpha moms everywhere create elaborate sweets buffet tables with themed backdrops, food labels, and desserts, of course. There is no mom more alpha than an Italian mamma. So, I thought it was time to get Italians in on the act.

    La Madonna che Scappa in Piazza
    On Easter Sunday the ancient city of Sulmona, which is located in the Abruzzo region, reenacts that moment when Mary sees her resurrected son Jesus for the first time. The celebration is appropriately called La Madonna che scappa in piazza (Our Lady running in the Square) and it has been a tradition that the town of Sulmona has celebrated since the 18th century.

    Make Sweet Easter Last Our Paesani -
    Did you know Pasquetta (Easter Monday) is a legal holiday in Italy? Find out how you can celebrate this day with a picnic like the Italians and make your holiday endure one more day. This two part article includes a couple of menus that you can prepare for your picnic with family and friends.

    La Naca di Catanzaro
    La Settimana Santa (Holy Week) and Pasqua (Easter) is an important time of the year for Italians. Throughout Italy you will find many towns celebrating in their own unique way. The town of Catanzaro, which is the capital of the Calabria region, prepares for the religious festival of La Naca (dialect word meaning "the cradle").

    Observe Lent in Italy Our Paesani -
    Italy, with Venice's annual festivities, is much more famous for Carnevale, the day before Lent begins, than it is for the 40-day countdown to Easter. However, among Catholics, who make up the majority of Italy, Lent is the holiest time of year. And there is much work to do in preparation of the anniversary of when Jesus rose from the dead.

    Palm Weaving Story
    One tradition that seems to have slowly disappeared is the art of palm weaving, which has been in existence since Ancient times. Palm weaving is an art form that consists of taking palms and manipulating them to create various designs. Some patterns can be very simple while others can be more complex.

    Palm Weaving Tutorials
    One of the fascinating traditions that my family does for Palm Sunday is to create decorative designs using palms. Here are a variety of tutorials containing step by step guides to help you create a braid, cone, cross, crown of thorns and a rose bud from palms.

    Pastiera: A Sweet Taste of Naples at Easter Our Paesani -
    Easter in Naples is never lacking eggs. There are those dyed red with onion skins, those gigantic chocolate eggs wrapped in foil and stuffed with a gift, and the ones used in pastiera, a centuries-old ricotta cheesecake that looks more like pie and is made with wheat and orange flower water.

    St. Joseph
    This includes resources on his life as well as the traditions celebrated on his feast day, which is March 19th.

    St. Joseph's Altar
    One of the great traditions on St. Joseph's Day is the beautifully decorated altars made to honor the Patron Saint of carpenters, fathers and Sicily.

    Sa Sartiglia
    The town of Oristano on the island of Sardinia celebrates this annual event that takes place the last Sunday before Lent and ends on Shrove Tuesday. This three-day event is filled with history and pageantry, which includes a joust and equestrian show, that dates back to the Middle Ages. Performers all dressed in traditional clothing while wearing eerily looking masks.

    Scoppio del Carro
    The Scoppio del Carro (Explosion of the cart) is a Florentine tradition that is held every year on Easter Sunday. People gather around the Piazza del Duomo to witness this explosion, which takes place at noon.

    Stations of the Cross
    Located in the Montagna Spaccata in Gaeta, Italy is a passageway that some call the Stations of the Cross or Way of the Cross. This passageway is lined with 14 paintings depicting Jesus' faithful journey on what has become to be known as Good Friday many centuries ago. This photo gallery will take you station to station so you can follow Jesus on his journey.

    Viva St. Joseph
    Learn more about this feast day and the various foods that are traditionally served on this day.

    La Zinghenésta
    Carnevale is a magical time in Italy. The entire country celebrates this long-standing tradition that dates back to the Middle Ages. Towns all over Italy celebrate this event in their own unique way. The comune of Canale d'Agordo in the province of Belluno within the Veneto region is no different as they celebrate La Zinghenésta.


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