Italian Easter Traditions

Being that the majority of Italians are Roman Catholic, most Italian Easter traditions center around religious customs passed down from generation to generation.

Some Italians might say that Easter is the most important holiday for Roman Catholics.

It is the day that Jesus was resurrected into Heaven, opening its doors for all his followers to be granted admittance.

This unwavering faith in God and Heaven makes Italian Roman Catholics very serious about the importance of the Easter holiday.

Of course the entire Lenten season is important to most Italians as they begin their celebration of Easter 40 days before it arrives.

Italian Easter Traditions and Religious Celebrations

Many Italians will fast on Ash Wednesday, as well as abstain from eating meat every Friday thereafter until Easter has arrived.

It is also likely that Italian Catholics will "give up" something that they love as a way to pay homage to the sacrifice they believe Jesus made for them.

italian easter traditions, easter procession, religious procession

These weeks before Easter is a time for reflection for many Italians.

Many attend mass numerous times throughout the season, including special ceremonies on Ash Wednesday, Palm Sunday and Good Friday - where the "stations of the cross" are recited and often replicated in a reenactment of the Biblical event.

The mood at these services is often somber and pensive as Catholics are asked to reflect on their sins and those of humanity, to be humbled by the sacrifice of their savior and generally be inspired to be better individuals.

Easter day is in stark contrast to these more somber occasions.

Usually masses are more joyful and festive as Roman Catholics believe this holiday to be the most important and exciting one of them all.

Many cities and towns will hold processions and religious festivities on the days up to and including Easter Sunday.

Palm leaves and olive branches are used to celebrate and decorate.

The dove is also a great symbol of this joyous holiday.

Some larger cities, such as Florence, will have festivals in the squares where people wear costumes and music is played.

A lot of food is prepared as the fasting and penance ends and the celebration begins!

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