Socail icons

google-plus.png    facebook.png        twitter.png 

After Easter... Pasquetta!

A staple of Italy's Easter traditions, Easter Monday is a popular festivity in many places in Europe, but is it in the US?
A staple of Italy's Easter traditions, Easter Monday is a popular festivity in many places in Europe, but is it in the US?

I wanted to write an article on Easter, but it's kind of hard to find something we haven't already talked about: from its most popular and traditional dishesto the day's history in the country, Easter is very much present on our pages. "But what about Pasquetta?" I thought. Easter Monday is one of the country's best loved traditions and, to be fair with the rest of Europe, so it is in many other parts of the Old Continent. However, as memories of numerous Easter times spent with my American friends reminded me, it's not celebrated in the US. Yet, if you ever manage to get it off work for some reason, you may try to spend it the Italian way: in good company and with plenty of food. 

 

Here comes a little vademecum about Easter's little cousin, Pasquetta, the day Italy spends grilling steaks, eating outdoors and enjoying the first real sun of the season.

 


Spending the day eating on a green field: the quintessential Italian Easter Monday
Ph.Wicker Paradise for Flickr (flickr.com/photos/wicker-furniture/)

 

Why do we celebrate it?

 

Easter Monday became officially a national holiday after the end of the Second World War in Italy, and it's celebrated, as we said, almost everywhere in Europe, in Canada and in Australia. Even if Pasquetta is not an official day of worship for the Catholic Church, it seems the origins of its traditional importance, in Italy as anywhere else in the Christian world, may indeed come from the Gospels.

 

In Mark, 16, 1-7, it's narrated that three women had gone to Jesus's sepulchre to wash his body and treat it with aromatic oils, as it was custom. Upon reaching their destination, they found the large stone closing up the tomb's entrance moved aside: in that moment, the voice of an angel announced to them He had resurrected. This is also the reason why, in Italy, Easter Monday is also called Lunedì dell'Angelo, the angel's Monday.

 

In the Gospels, this episode is said to have taken place on "the day after Easter:" on a Monday, for us, but this is not quite correct. The Easter referred to in the Gospels is the Jewish Easter, Passover, which ends on a Saturday, and not the Christian Easter, which always falls on a Sunday. It's very likely, then, that the event described by Mark took place on a Sunday, rather than a Monday, but traditions, we all know it, are not always faithful to sources and so Easter Monday stuck. 

 

Interesting is also the connection found with the common habit of celebrating Pasquetta somewhere in the countryside, which is particularly dear to Italians: the idea of preparing a "gita fuori porta", that is quite literally, a trip "outside the walls of a city," in the country, seems to be connected to the apparition of the Christ to two of his apostles on their way to Emmaus, located some miles outside Jerusalem, an event recounted to us by Luke. Religious people then, see Pasquetta as a day commemorating the presence of Christ among his disciples after his death, a fact symbolised by the choice of celebrating it by taking an ideal "trip to Emmaus" somehwere in the countryside near home. 

 

 

Does it have any official religious meaning? 

 

As said, Pasquetta in itself is not an official Catholic feast, but it is celebrated everywhere as a holiday. 

 

 

What do we do and what do we eat? 

 

Well, this is where things get interesting.

 


Casatiello is decorated with full eggs, that cook with the dough in the oven 
Ph. Carmelo Speltino for Flickr (flickr.com/photos/pigliapost)

 

Pasquetta is the day of picnics and countryside trips, either with family or friends, and it usually involves some amount of planning: you know the way we Italians are with food. One of the most appreciated ways to spend the day is organizing barbeques: either at someone's place or in dedicated areas immersed in nature, barbequeing is among our top activities on Easter Monday. This is why you usually have to go book your meat a bunch of days earlier, unless you want to tailgate with chicken strips from the supermarket: finding pork chops for Pasquetta can be a challenge if you don't plan well in advance. 

 

Bucolic picnics are also a favorite for the day: forget plain sandwiches though, because Pasquetta style food is on a different planet: torta pasqualina (a filling of chard, parmesan and eggs, encased between two layers of filo pastry) frittate, savory cakes, cheeses, deli meats and of course loads of soft, sponge cakes like ciambella di Pasqua.

 

We have a penchant for anything involving eggs for Pasquetta: eggs are a symbol of Easter all over the world, and not only because we eat

chocolate ones. It's likely that the pagan meaning associated with the egg, that of rebirth and new life, was borrowed by Christians to signify Christ's own resurrection, making of the egg and its many culinary declensions synonym with Easter.

 

Eggs are placed whole, shell included, as a decoration in casatiello, a filled bread typical of Neapolitan Easter; personally, I have fond memories of these little basket-like breads my grandma would bake for Easter Monday, with an egg in the middle, too. Eggs also appear whole inside the already mentioned torta pasqualina. Both casatiello and pasqualina are staples of Pasquetta's picnic baskets: they're usually made for Easter sunday, but earthy slices of them are consumed on Easter monday, too. 

 


Torta Pasqualina is another typical dish Italians like to consume on the day of Pasquetta 
Ph. hostile workplaces for Flickr (flickr.com/photos/48404345@N06/)

 

But you know what, Pasquetta and eggs don't go hand in hand only in the kitchen: ancient rural traditions called for games and ability contexts involving eggs taking place on the day and, in some parts of Italy, you can still be part in some of them. In Fiorenzuola d'Arda, in the Piacenza province, people challenge each other to a difficult "egg fight" where contestants must break their opponent's egg with their own, which needs to remain intact. The same competition takes place in Ferentillo, near Terni, where it's called "lu ciuccittu". The origin of this quirky game may lie in the ancient rural tradition of baking Easter bread decorated with full eggs, very much like casatiello and the basket-like bread my grandma used to make. 

 

Francesca Bezzone

 

Channel: 
What do you think ?
Tuesday, January 24th, 2017
history handbags
  Rod Stewart asked what would become of his lover when they stripped her of: '...the handbags and the glad rags that your grandad had to sweat so that you could buy them.' Mrs. Thatcher called hers her 'trusty companion' and the word 'handbagging' was invented to describe her browbeating tactics. Some famous handbags in literature include the bag which contained Jack/ Earnest in Oscar Wilde's play, The Importance of Being Earnest and Anna Karenina's red velvet handbag which she threw
Tuesday, January 24th, 2017
italian designer handbag
Italian Handbag Brands Part I   Italian Bag by Ermanno Scervino, Summer 2015 collection As mentioned in the introduction to Italian designer handbags, there are some Italian brands that began life as creators of bags or other accessories, and others that began as clothing labels which branched out later into designer handbags. In the first three parts of the article on the various Italian brands that carry designer handbags, the brands which started life as bag or accessory makers
Tuesday, July 7th, 2015
Italian Fashion Accessories: Fantasy and Durability   Italian Accessories: Valentino 2009   Italy is known for its big Fashion Houses, for the brands that are conquering the world, one country at a time. Designer shoes and handbags made in Italy are all the rage, they can be seen on any and all kinds of celebrities. And this trend is not new. The Italian accessories brand Gucci first became famous for its Constance bags, with a hobo shape, double strap, and a big H clasp, which was carried
Thursday, February 13th, 2014
Shoes are considered simply a type of garnment, something to wear simply because you need it by those who are not fashion enthusiast. Although some people could regard shoes merely as an unavoidable accessory worn in modern times to walk and protect feet, scarpe in Italy are really important to people in the field of fashion. They represent an additional element to the style and they have their weight in everyday activities. We already know that women, no matter their country of origin, love
Friday, June 1st, 2012
Italian-Made Wallets for Men & Women I went hunting for a wallet recently. I love wallets. I guess it's because they're so close to the money, right? In this article, we'll focus on three men's wallets and three ladies' wallets - all from Italian designers. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do. MEN'S WALLETS From Salvatore Ferragamo, we have this fantastic leather wallet. Inside, you'll find six key rings to keep all your keys organized! The wallet has the Ferragamo logo emblazoned on
Friday, June 1st, 2012
Custom Italian Shoes to Suit You Recently we referred to the increasing attraction for Italian custom-made clothes among discerning clients. This attraction extends beyond jackets, suits, shirts and trousers to (would you believe it) shoes! For all of us who are accustomed to thinking of Italian shoes as being a mark of distinction, good taste and quality, it comes as some surprise that there is yet another step upwards on the ladder of selective buying. In a recent
Friday, June 1st, 2012
Contemporary Jewelry from Venice Carnival season is almost over in Venice. The splendor of the palaces along the Grand Canal, the majesty of St. Mark's Square and its gilded basilica, the bustling traffic on the waters of the lagoon are all major players, not just backdrops, which add to the unique flavor of the Venetian carnival. Magnificent costumes are paraded slowly, silently and regally through the streets and squares of Venice, pausing to allow tourists to
Friday, June 1st, 2012
Prada Designer Handbags Prada began as a luggage brand, but emerged into the handbag market with its prima donna, Miuccia Prada, who shot into limelight with her simple, functional yet stylish nylon bags. With the distinctive triangular label, Prada nylon bags became very popular. They retain a healthy demand even today, and have been seen on stars like Kate Winslet.     But over the years, Prada bags have evolved and reached the stratosphere of designer handbags, becoming the “it
Friday, June 1st, 2012
Handheld Fans The Greeks called handheld fans 'scepters of feminine beauty'. These pretty and delicate accessories have always been admired, but they have not always been in fashion. The sight of Kirsten Dunst as the French Queen, Marie Antoinette, holding a rococo fan in the eponymous 2006 film has heightened interest in these objects and led to their revival in fashion recently. Jovovich Hawk have featured fans from their collection at the Los Angeles Fashion Week. Handheld fans have also
Friday, June 1st, 2012
Halle Berry as the face of Versace Bags in 2006 Britney Spears Versace As discussed in Italian Designer Handbags Part I, in the Part IV and Part V of this series we describe the Italian Designer bags that come from fashion houses that started with clothing, but have gone on to make statement handbags. Versace Designer Handbags Versace as a brand has always been known for its ornateness. Gianni Versace had a taste for indulging the senses, often using a lot of gold and metal in his clothing
Friday, June 1st, 2012
Winter Weather Accessories for Ladies When I was a little girl, my mother used to get so angry with me. I hated to go out in the winter with a scarf, gloves or a hat. Especially the winter hat. I didn't want to sacrifice my hair just to remain warm. Oh no. Not me.   Now that I'm older and a mother myself, I realize the importance of winter weather accessories. I will never leave my house on a frozen day without at least a scarf and leather gloves. I won't! Alright, maybe I'm still
Friday, June 1st, 2012
Marilu Fernandez, Coral Designer While traveling through Sicily, I had the honor of meeting the creativity and brains behind Marilu Fernandez, a coral design firm that is taking the European fashion accessories industry by storm. I was introduced to the dynamic mother and son duo in their Palermo showroom for a preview party. She is a woman of elegance and refinement, but devoid of the pretentious air that often succeeds. I was taken around the showroom, where we paused at each piece and
Friday, June 1st, 2012
Fendi Designer Handbags When you talk about Italian handbags, Fendi is one of the first names that springs to mind. Fendi began as a family business specializing in fur and leather goods, and carried on with this expertise, till the advent of Karl Lagerfield, who turned Fendi overnight into a brand sensation. The Fendi Zucca logo became the talk of the fashion world in the late sixties, and the legend of the Fendi bags was born. Fendi bags were stiff and hard before the reign of Lagerfield
Friday, June 1st, 2012
Carnival season is almost over in Venice. The splendor of the palaces along the Grand Canal, the majesty of St. Mark's Square and its gilded basilica, the bustling traffic on the waters of the lagoon are all major players, not just backdrops, which add to the unique flavor of the Venetian carnival. Magnificent costumes are paraded slowly, silently and regally through the streets and squares of Venice, pausing to allow tourists to snap numerous photographs that will help them to bring back to
Friday, June 1st, 2012
The Necessary Accessory A tie is a great finishing piece. It's an accessory that, for lack of a better term, ties a suit together. In a previous article, we've looked at some elegant Italian men's suits. Now that we've done that, we can take a few moments to view some wonderful Italian-made ties. Armani gives us this fantastic gray, silk tie. It's neutral and showcases the Armani logo. I would have to say that this piece is a great accompaniment to just about any color (or kind) of suit.
Friday, June 1st, 2012
The Jeweling Duke: The Story of Fulco di Verdura Ashley Rudd looked gorgeous in them in the movie, DeLovely. Katherine Hepburn wore them in The Philadelphia Story. They were favorites of many other movie stars, such as Greta Garbo and Joan Crawford, and celebrities, such as the Duchess of Windsor, of whom the photographer, Horst, said that, "Verdura alone knew how to make her a Duchess." Often whimsical and playful, but still elegant, Fulco di Verdura's exquisite jewels
Friday, June 1st, 2012
Beautiful Pearls and Italy Pearls and elegance go together. They have an undeniable appeal and celebrities have been seen wearing them recently, celebrities young and old. Not only are the classic pearl necklaces back, we are also seeing the resurgence of pearls as funky accessories. They are being won in various colors to jazz up an outfit, they are being worn in long strings to create a look of bohemian elegance---in short, pearls are back in the mainstream. Whether you are a woman of mature
Friday, June 1st, 2012
Italian Made Women's Watches I remember my first Italian-made watch. I got it for my First Communion. I was in second grade. It was gold. It was elegant. It was so pretty. And I lost it. In the coatroom of the Catholic school I attended. My parents were so upset; but, not as upset as I was. That watch was perfect. It had a thin, bracelet strap with a ring clasp. The time face was black with gold Roman numbers. Ohhhh. How I still miss it!   Okay, that's enough reminiscing
Friday, June 1st, 2012
A new shoe collection from Miuccia Prada's Miu Miu line always unleashes a frenzy of anticipation in the fashion world and the recent reveal of the Miu Miu Spring 2011 Shoe Collection is no different. The line is pure Miu Miu: inventive and quirky, retro-inspired and feminine, with focus on the details.   Spotted: Polka Dot Clogs Fashionistas who were obsessed with Miu Miu's iconic cat-print clogs last season will have a chance to get a revamped version for spring. This time the studded
Friday, June 1st, 2012
History of Makeup and Accessories Shoes Unstable like the mood of time and transitional as vanity, the search for beauty is old as man (and obviously woman). The knowledge of cosmetics and pharmacology in the old Greece and oriental civilizations were so deep to reach unchanged the 17th century. The Romans, even though originally characterized by a certain simplicity of their local costumes, easily got seduced by their care of the body and …"to look good" (lets think about Marco Porcio
Friday, June 1st, 2012
Shoes of Reality Editor Note: This article is not about Italian shoes in particular; but, it is a fun to read article about women's shoes so I decided to add it anyway to my fashion section - An Italian shoes article can be found here. sexy womens Italian shoe wild So, I’m standing before a shoe aisle thinking to myself 'Why?'. Why, I ask you, do women have to scrounge around for shoes that look sexy and alluring, but do not kill their pocket books or toe joints?This is a
Friday, June 1st, 2012
Dynasty of Jewels Torrini Logo, Florence, Italy The Torrini Dynasty has its roots back in the fourteenth century when Jacopus Torrini of Scarperia, Italy began crafting fine suits of armor for the knights of the land. He registered his unique trademark in 1369 in Florence with the Guild of Iron Wrights, Armorers, and Nailmakers. For his mark, he cleverly combined a spur, symbolizing the armor, and a half clover, symbolizing the good luck he wished his business to have.
Friday, June 1st, 2012
  I'm always on the lookout for beautiful things. I have an eye for fashion and for beauty. It's a gift. Yes, I joke a little bit; but, I am completely entranced by jewelry. The song does say Diamonds are a girl's best friend, after all, doesn't it? Italy has a fine tradition of jewelry-making, stemming back thousands of years. In fact, 3,000 years ago ancient Etruscans, the people who lived in what is present-day Tuscany, began working with gold. Their creations were stunningly
Friday, June 1st, 2012
Vincenza Oro: World Premier Jewelry Fair, Vincenza, Italy Each year, over 1600 vendors and over 20,000 buyers travel to Vincenza Italy for the undisputed king of artisan jewelry expositions. VincenzaOro1 is a decidedly international event. Almost half of the visitors, and over three hundred and fifty of the vendors, came from overseas expressly for the show. Because it is held at the beginning of each year, the fair is considered the inaugural jewelry event of the new
Friday, June 1st, 2012
Audrey Hepburn "A pure hand needs no glove to cover it," Nathaniel Hawthorne once said, yet people have been attracted to gloves and mittens since ancient times. The first gloves were developed to fight off the cold and later they were used for gardening and rough work. The ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans all wore gloves. Homer wrote in The Odyssey that Laertes wore gloves while gardening to protect himself from brambles. Often the peasants in these societies wore three-fingered gloves
Friday, June 1st, 2012
A History of Bulgari Brilliant Jewelry "Diamonds are a girl's best friend", Marilyn Monroe once quipped. The many movie stars who have been adorned with beautiful Bulgari jewels would surely agree.   Below is a clip of Bvlgari's beautiful jewelry, from writing tools to the extravagant necklaces:   Italy's greatest jeweler, Bulgari had humble origins. Its founder, Soutirios, came from the tiny Greek village of Kallarrytes in the area of Epirus, near the Albanian border.
Friday, June 1st, 2012
The 10 Sexiest Italian Shoes Some women dream about Brad Pitt. I dream about shoes. Beautiful shoes. Sexy shoes. Gorgeous Italian-made shoes. I love Italian shoes. They are sexy, sophisticated and stunning. Don't take my word for it; check out these pictures and descriptions of some hot and sexy Italian shoes brought to you from all over the web. sexy shoe 1) Just like you need a little black dress, every woman needs a gorgeous pair of black heels. These mules from
Friday, June 1st, 2012
From Actors to Royalty: Damiani Brad Pitt chose Damiani to make his engagement ring for Jennifer Aniston and their wedding rings. Prince Emmanuel of Savoy also requested the company to make the wedding rings for his marriage to French actress Clotilde Courou. Movie stars, including Isabella Rossellini and Milla Jovovitch have proudly worn their jewelry. Beautiful Gwyneth Paltrow is proud to be their new face. The famous jewelry firm is the epitome of Italian style,
Friday, June 1st, 2012
Dolce and Gabbana Designer Handbags Dolce & Gabbana has never shied from over-the top-sexiness, and this shows up in its bags. The brand’s biggest champion is Madonna, and the designer duo have designed time and again for her tours.     Dolce & Gabbana is all about shiny, flashy, in-your-face fashion. Patents, foil finishes, obvious zips, riotous color are all features of bags from this brand. Though they do make serious looking stuff like the Miss New Easy Way or the Dolce
Friday, June 1st, 2012
From Cavemen to the Catwalk Trying on a pair of stiletto Gucci boots, hard on the outside, buttery soft on the inside, can reduce the most sane and poised woman into a gooey mess. There are few experiences in life that can rival the sheer pleasure and excitement women feel when shopping for shoes at Fendi and Prada in Italy. Glancing at the shelves of possibilities, their eyes light up and their hearts flutter like that first time they fell in love. Italian High Heels and Fishnet Stockings
Friday, June 1st, 2012
Italian Jewelry by Arando Arando Necklace Italian jewelry is known all over the world for its astounding ability to find the beautiful in the simple, the aesthetic in the functional. But in our modern times, very few Italian jewelry houses create pieces that are more art than craft. Master Antonio Rando, the founder of Arando, creates timeless jewelry and watches that revolve around universal themes, expressing them according to his own unique vision. Arando: Handcrafted Jewelry and Watches