Easter is a big celebration in Italy, full of regional and national traditions and great food all over the country. It is an important time in the Christian calendar, so there are many religious ceremonies, events and processions.
The Easter season starts on Domenica delle Palme (Palm Sunday), followed by Giovedì santo and Venerdì santo (Maundy Thursday and Good Friday). The celebrations culminate on Pasqua (Easter Sunday) and after that comes Pasquetta (Easter Monday). The whole week is known as La settimana santa (Holy Week).
Italians have a saying that goes:
Natale con i tuoi, Pasqua con chi vuoi
This means that you should Christmas with your family but you can spend Easter with whoever you’d like to. This is particularly true of Pasquetta (Easter Monday), a day traditionally spent in nature having a picnic or a barbecue with friends.
It does all depend on the weather though. Easter can fall in March or April, so it can be very early or very late spring. There are some Italian expressions to talk about when Easter is:
Pasqua bassa (literally short Easter) – if Easter falls between March 22nd and April 2nd
Pasqua media (literally medium Easter) – if Easter falls between April 3rd and April 13th
Pasqua alta (literally tall Easter) – if Easter falls between April 14th and April 25th
Here are some other Italian expressions relating to Easter:
Felice come una Pasqua
Literally this means: Happy as Easter. The real meaning is to be truly very happy. In English we might say ‘as happy as Larry’.
Lungo come una Quaresima
Quaresima is the Italian word for Lent - the forty days in the run up to Easter, often filled with prayers and fasting. The literal translation of this saying is ‘as long as lent’. It is used to describe someone or something that is very long and drawn out and really quite boring.
Portare la propria croce
This means ‘to carry one’s own cross’. It refers to someone dealing with hardship and pain, in the same way Jesus carried his own cross.
Essere come San Tommaso
Thomas the Apostle, also known as doubting Thomas, didn’t believe the story of Jesus’ resurrection when he was first told of it. This expression means ‘to be like Thomas the Apostle’ and is used to describe someone who won’t believe something unless he sees it with his own eyes.
I hope you get to use one or two of these expressions during the Easter period. Buona Pasqua!
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