The Institute presents: Easter traditions
Carrying on our tradition of presenting traditions here is a small selection of Western European traditions for Easter! We hope you have an amazing Easter with family and wish you the best!
Adrian Waters: Rome, Italy
For the majority of Italians Easter celebrations start on Good Friday, but in Sicily and in Sardinia the week before Easter Sunday (known as Holy Week) is particularly important because of their historic links with Spain. In Sardinia, for instance, there is a custom known as Sa Chida Santa which is borrowed from Catalan traditions and involves different rituals and processions for each day of the week. The Pope marks the Thursday of the Holy Week (the night of the Last Supper) by washing the feet of others just like Jesus did with his disciples. In recent years Pope Francis has washed the feet of prison inmates, young offenders, refugees and former mafiosi. Unlike other countries, Good Friday is not a public holiday in Italy as it’s a day of mourning to mark Jesus’s death. For this reason, parishes do not have masses, but celebrate the Via Crucis (the Latin term for the Way of Grief) or hold a solemn liturgy. In Rome, the Pope will say a mass on Friday afternoon before leading the Via Crucis procession from the Colosseum to the Palatine Hill, accompanied by a huge cross covered in burning torches. Elsewhere in the country, the Via Crucis is celebrated on Friday and Saturday with processions and parades. The participants wear costumes, carry torches, crosses or statues of saints or flagellate themselves as penance. In some towns, the locals act out important events from the Easter story, including the trial and death of Jesus.