It’s a religious holiday, but in Italy it also welcomes spring: here are the typical dishes for an Italian Easter…
The traditional Italian dishes for Easter
Easter is a Christian holiday, celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ, on the third day after his crucifixion. The day of Easter moves with the calendar, as it has been established by the First Council of Nicaea (325) that the date of Easter is the first Sunday after the full moon following the March equinox (21st March).
Both terms ‘Easter’ and ‘Passover’ in many languages are homonymous.
Celebration in Italy means sitting at the table with family and relatives (although an Italian proverb says “Natale con i tuoi, Pasqua con chi vuoi” as “Christmas with family, Easter with whoever you want”) to enjoy traditional food.
Here are some of the typical dishes Italians prepare for Easter.
Hard boiled eggs
“Omne vivum ex ovo”, from Latin “everything originates from the egg”, says an ancient proverb. According to Christian myth, the egg is the symbol of divine resurrection. That is why eggs are decorated or sometimes even blessed to stress their sacred meaning.
That is why eggs are a fundamental part of the meal, often hardboiled and filled with vegetables, tuna, or meat.
Peas, artichokes and vegetables in season.
All the vegetables available in spring are used: peas, artichokes are symbol of spring and therefore rebirth, which relates clearly to the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Grated Lamb with artichokes and peas is for example a typical dish from Calabria that is prepared especially during Easter. Lamb is cooked in many ways and accompanied with different spices (mint and rosemary in Sicily, myrtle in Sardinia). Why is lamb is typical of this celebration? It symbolises innocence and purity, and in the Bible it’s stressed its attitude of submission to the shepard (God) as the obedience to the word of God. It was often used as a sacrificial animal.
In the past it was a quiche prepared on Monday with the remainders of Easter Sunday’s lunch. Today the recipe remains, somehow revisited with better ingredients which often include ricotta cheese, eggs, Parmesan, butter, herbs (chard, marjoram), onions, and of course, phyllo pastry.
Dove shaped dessert
The dove is another symbol of Easter that is replicated somehow on the table: a dessert cake shaped like a dove is often offered to guests and can be decorated with chocolate cream… the Dove is another symbol of purity and peace.
Along with these dishes, many other typical regional dishes (like Cappelletti, filled pasta, in Emilia Romagna) are prepared as it always is when it comes to celebrate something as important as holy holidays in Italy. Cooking the best dishes available in the local cuisine is a way to demonstrate respect for the festival and then the guests.
Tagged with: #ITALIAN FOOD
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