An Easter in Italy, Unlike Any Other
Easter, or Pasqua, is a vibrant time in Italy during a typical year. The flowers are blooming and people are making plans to spend time with family and friends, baking, and buying beautifully-wrapped chocolate eggs con sorpressa (with a surprise toy inside). For several days leading up to Easter Sunday, they are participating in colorful parades and celebrations. Pilgrims are traveling to Rome for Holy Week. On Easter Sunday, revelers crowd the streets of Florence for the traditional Scoppio del Carro, when the Florentine Archbishop sets fire to a cart outside of the Duomo, sparking an explosive celebration. Precious little of that will happen this year.
There’s an Italian saying that strikes me in its tragic irony- Natale con i tuoi, Pasqua con chi vuoi. It essentially means “Christmas with your family, Easter with who you want.” Because Easter and even the day following (a national holiday known as Pasquetta, or little Easter) are typically such festive days marked by large group gatherings, the point is to do what you want and have fun. This year the saying doesn’t work. Instead, everyone will Easter with their immediate household. I’m hoping that for Italian families, it will be a sweet day to reflect with loved ones on those things that make them happy, peaceful and grateful. And I hope it will be an anomaly. Next year, bring on the fireworks.
To learn more about a typical year’s Pasqua, read our post here, written in more normal times. For a glimpse at how things are going in Florence right now, I highly recommend downloading The Florentine’s commemorative publication released earlier this week, “Healing Not Broken.” The articles, written from a variety of viewpoints, are as captivating as the incredible photos.
If you’re interested in helping Italy and Florence in their time of need, I have gathered a few of my favorite ways here: You can donate directly to Croce Rossa Italiana (Italian Red Cross) here. You can support local artisans in Florence here. I love this one- A Florentine photographer is selling his haunting photos of Florence’s quiet beauty in this time of emptiness as a fundraiser for a local hospital, here.
To all my friends in Italy and across the globe- Buona Pasqua, Happy Easter, Happy Passover, happy weekend. Wishing you all happiness, health and safe passage to better times.