The Italian proverb ‘Natale con i tuoi, Pasqua con chi vuoi’ means ‘Christmas with your relatives, Easter with whomever you want!’ This epitomises the more relaxed spirit of the Easter festival in Italy.

Known as ‘Pasqua’ in Italian, everyone revels in the festive spirit of Easter by indulging in carnivals, concerts, parades, fireworks and feasting – pretty much how every festival is celebrated in Italy!

Aside from the religious celebrations many unusual and bizarre rituals have also sprung up around the arrival of spring. In Florence, a performance is held, where the ‘scoppio del carro’ (‘explosion of the cart’) is enacted. In this custom, a decorated cart, led by white oxen, is driven to the Easter Mass where firecrackers and dove-shaped rockets are set off!

Easter Monday – known as Little Easter or ‘Pasquetta’ – is often spent enjoying the fresh spring weather with family and friends in picnics. The Racing Of The Egg (Palio dell’Uovo) is a traditional Easter Monday game in the town of Tredozio and in Barano d’Ischia, they celebrate with a traditional dance called the Festa della Ndrezzata performed with wooden sticks and swords.

If you’re out and about with friends watching your own local celebrations this Easter why not whip up some of our tasty red pepper and walnut dip (click here for the recipe) and slip some Doriano crackers in for scooping? To take the still-chilly edge off, keep warm with a flask of steaming hot Italian hot chocolate (click here for the recipe) with Amaretti for dunking on the side.

Back at home pop a ‘one you made earlier’ butternut squash lasagne (click here for the recipe) in the oven to share with ‘whomever you want’ and have a very buona Pasqua!

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