I talian A merican D igest PAGE 12 SPRING 2018 Easter in Italy Marked by Festivals and Contests I and no raisins. The dough is then fashioned into a dove shape, and finally is topped with pearl sugar and almonds before being baked. by Enrico Villamaino III n Italy, there is a saying: “Natale con i tuoi, Pasqua con chi vuoi.” This translates to: “Christmas with your family, Easter with whomever you want!” In Italy, Pasqua is a joyous, fun holiday traditionally spent with friends. We’ve compiled a short list of some of the quirky Easter traditions that you can try out with your fun loving friends the next time you’re in Lo Stivale! • La Festa del Carro A Florentine tradition since 1096, this festival commemorates the return of Pazzino di Ranieri de’ Pazzi, a crusader knight who fought in Jerusa- lem. He brought with him pieces of flint from the Holy Sepulcher of Christ. These stones were then used to light Florence’s Easter Vigil sacred fire. Today Florentines commemorate this event with a Sunday procession during which a 30-foot tall antique cart is pulled by a team of white oxen dur- ing a parade of 150 soldiers, musicians and other people dressed in 15th-century attire. When the procession reaches the Piazza del Duomo in front of Santa Maria del Fiore cathedral, the local arch- bishop then uses a dove shaped rocket to ignite a cart laden with fireworks. It is said that a large ex- plosion portends a bountiful harvest, stable civic life, and growing prosperity. • La Ruzzola del Formaggio On the day after Easter, known as Pasquetta, or “little Easter,” the small Umbrian town of Pani- • Misteri di Trapani The “Mysteries of Trapani” is a daylong pas- sion procession in Trapani, a city in the northwest- ern corner of Sicily. Featuring floats of lifelike wood, canvas and glue sculptures of individual scenes of the events of the Passion of the Christ, it is the culmination of the Holy Week in Trapani. The Misteri are amongst the oldest continuously running religious events in Europe, having been played every Good Friday since before the Easter of 1612. Running for at least 16 continuous hours, they occasionally last well beyond the 24 hours! cale has a cheese-rolling competition. Competitors must roll huge wheels of Ruzzola cheese around the village as part of a game known as “Ruzzolo- ne”. The player who completes the course with the fewest number of throws wins! • La Madonna che Scappa Must faster than the Misteri di Trapani, this parade, in the town of Sulmona in the province of Abruzzo, is something of a race! After the Easter Sunday service, priests carrying a statue of the Virgin Mary and run it at full speed to a statue of Jesus at the other end of the town square. Blink and you might miss it! • Colomba di Pasqua The baking of Colomba di Pasqua (Easter Dove), an Italian traditional Easter cake, is the counterpart of the well-known Italian Christmas panettone. The dough for the colomba is made with flour, eggs, sugar, natural yeast and butter; unlike panettone, it usually contains candied peel • Palio dell’Uovo This competition, held on the Monday after Easter in Tredozio, a small town in the Emilia- Romagna region of Italy, is a day long egg-themed competition. The culmination of which is a mas- sive timed egg eating contest. It is not for the faint-hearted! Misteri di Trapani is a daylong passion procession in Trapani, a city in the northwestern Sicily.