Part I: Pasqua  ‘Italian style’.
By Peter Harrison
Every country celebrates Easter in its own unique way, Italy celebrates with a little more ‘brio’ than most…..
Although many of the celebrations have pagan roots, Easter is predominantly a Christian festival in this, for many, the centre of the Christian world. The importance of Easter in Italyis rather like Thanksgiving in the USA, Ramadan for Muslims, Diwali for Hindus or Vesak for Buddhists.
At Easter, the whole country shrugs off winter and enters a period of religious devotion coupled with fun, games, concerts, processions, fireworks, family reunions, parties, parades and a bacchanalia of fine food and wine.
The proverb ‘Natale con i tuoi, Pasqua con chi vuoi’ meaning ‘Christmas with your relatives, Easter with whomever you want’, perfectly sums up  the festive spirit of Easter in Italy.
Solemn religious processions are held in many towns on Easter and many churches have special statues that are paraded as part in the processions, the participants often wearing traditional dress. Easter mass is held in every church in Italybut the biggest is held by the Pope at St. Peter’s Basilica, televised to millions worldwide. On Good Friday, the Pope celebrates the Via Crucis or Stations of the Cross in Romenear the Colosseum. With a huge cross covered by burning torches dramatically lighting up the sky.

…….more tomorrow