I’m back in the States this Easter, celebrating with my family. This morning, Easter Monday, I woke up and was shocked that the mailman was outside, garbage was being picked up - people were going to work! How quickly I’d forgotten that Easter Monday isn’t an official holiday in the US, as it is in Italy. Of course, it was pretty easy to get used to something as nice as an extra day off at the beginning of spring to relax with friends and family…
Pasquetta, as Easter Monday is known in Italy, is primarily a secular holiday, though like many modern holidays it has its origins in first pagan, then Christian, traditions. For the ancient Romans, this was the time of year that they celebrated Lupercalia, a feast honoring family and fertility after the hardships of winter. For many Christians, Eastern Monday is the day to remember Mary and Mary Magdalene visiting Christ’s tomb and, when finding it empty, being comforted by the angel (this day is sometimes referred to as “Lunedi dell’Angelo”, “Monday of the Angel”, for that reason). It is not a holy day of obligation, however, so instead of finding a lot of people in church today, you’re more likely to find them out in the countryside, relaxing on a blanket with a picnic.
“Natale con i tuoi, Pasqua con chi vuoi” is an Italian saying that means “Christmas with your family, Easter with whomever you choose”. And this seems to hold true, particularly, for Pasquetta, when many Italians will leave family in the cities or villages and head out into the countryside with friends. The weather can be a bit changeable at this time of the year, but that won’t stop most people from at least trying to take advantage of this extra day of holiday to step out of their everyday lives and enjoy a bit of rest, peace, good food and good company.
What are you doing on Pasquetta?