And Buona Pasqua!
Though you should note that here in Italy, Venerdì Santo (Good Friday) is a religious holiday but not a national one, that is to say, it’s a normal working day.
Most of Europe is closed, but not Italy.
My bank has been warning me for a month that any transactions I initiate today will not be processed until next week, as the continental banking system’s computers are all off eating roast lamb and chocolate eggs.
But then, next week we have April 25th, which IS a holiday (more about that another time.)
And the week after, there’s May 1st (ditto.)
It really is feast or famine with days off at this time of year!
Talking of eggs, I read an interesting article about Easter in Sweden on the ‘easy Swedish news’ site I listen to each weekday.
Did you know that, in Sweden, Venerdì Santo (Good Friday) is called ‘Långfredagen’ (long Friday)?
Probably because parents are stuck at home with the kids all day.
But I wonder if the producers of the classic British gangster movie ‘The Long Good Friday’ knew about the Swedish term?
According to Wikipedia, the film was number 21 in a list of Best British Films and was Bob Hoskins’ breakthrough role!
For which we should be truly thankful, as Roger Rabbit would not have been the same without him.
Beh, where was I? Ah yes, eggs.
Another piece of trivia from the easy Swedish news – Swedes will eat fifty million eggs today.
And why are eggs associated with Easter, they inquired?
It’s because, apparently, the hens (hönor – see? It’s virtually the same word. THAT’s a good reason for learning Swedish…) didn’t use to lay eggs all winter, it being way too gloomy and depressing.
They were probably busy planning holidays in Spain and washing away the winter blues with cheap vodka from Estonia.
But then suddenly, hey, it’s April!
The sun is shining, and eggs start to appear again.
So THAT’s why they’re on the menu…
But enough about Sweden, what about Italy?
Well, it behoves me to mention that you could develop your own ‘easy news’ habit.
Were you to do so, you might potentially improve your reading and listening skills approximately three levels in a single year, as I have (no kidding), as well as picking up masses of trivia.
Check out our EasyItalianNews.com site, which is free.
Listen to/read each episode for a year…
That would be approximately 150 bulletins, something like twenty-five HOURS of audio, repeated three times, call it 75 hours (equivalent to a three-week full time Italian course)…
Then come back next Easter and tell me your Italian hasn’t improved as a result?
I’m not going to have trouble digesting my Easter eggs over that prospect.
Either you won’t bother (not my fault, as I’m doing my best to persuade you), or it will work.
‘Subscribe’ here (for free, and it will ALWAYS be free – no tricks) to get each bulletin via email direct into your inbox each Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.
Our ‘easy news’ site is funded by donations, not charges of any kind, or advertising.
Though this month our cup has had just a few coppers chucked into it.
So if you’ve a few moments today, and haven’t spent all your cash on chocolate eggs, do visit our ‘Donate’ page and help out.
Anyway, we were talking about Easter in Italy, were we not?
I’ll be lunching with the extended family in Santarcangelo di Romagna, one of these ‘everyone brings something and we all share’ events. Hope there’ll be plenty of wine…
What precisely the Easter traditions are there, I have no idea (besides eating and drinking too much).
However, Italian Wikipedia has an interesting section on ‘Local Italian Traditions’ on its Easter page.
Amongst which are the following:
- A Teggiano, in provincia di Salerno, i figli baciavano i piedi ai genitori in segno di perdono.
- In Versilia, sempre in segno di perdono, ma stavolta verso Gesù, le donne dei marinai baciano la terra, dicendo: “Terra bacio e terra sono – Gesù mio, chiedo perdono”.
- In Abruzzo invece è usanza dei contadini durante la Pasqua aggiungere acqua benedetta nel cibo.
- L’acqua benedetta si usa anche in Venezia Giulia, dove se ne beve mezzo bicchiere a digiuno, prima di mangiare due uova sode e una focaccia innaffiata con vino bianco.
And for those who don’t YET read well enough in Italian, here are my attempts at translating the above:
- At Teggiano, in the province of Salerno, children kiss their parents’ feet as a sign of / in an act of pardon/forgiveness (? not sure about that bit!)
- In Versilia, also ‘in segno di perdono’, but this time towards Jesus, sailors’ wives kiss the earth, saying “I kiss the earth and I am earth – my Jesus, I ask for forgiveness”.
- In Abruzzo, on the other hand, it’s the custom of farmers to add holy water to (sprinkle holy water on?) their food during Easter.
- Holy water is also used in Venezia Giulia, where a half a glass of it is drunk on an empty stomach, before eating two boiled eggs and some focaccia, washed down (?) with white wine.
So there you go.
And national holiday or otherwise, I think I’ll head down to the supermarket now to pick up a litre of white wine and a focaccia.
So as to really enter into the spirit of things!