Welcome to my world - a blend of passion, taste, and old-world traditions.

Benvenuti nel mio mondo - un mischio di passione, gusto e vecchie tradizioni.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

EASTER ...many years ago

And they come back, memories never fade ....the vinegar-sand scrubbed copper pots and pans gleaming off the freshly painted walls … the slaughtering of the spring lamb....the scents of cinnamon and vanilla ... the baking of cookies at the local bakery...Mom making fresh pot cheese over a fire....the sadness of Good Friday....the blessing of the homes....the joy of Easter Sunday....and the fun of Pasquetta (Easter Monday).

I remember Easter being a solemn and yet, joyous event. On Good Friday (Venerdi Santo) at sundown, there was the dramatic recreation of the suffering of the death of Christ. The Dead Christ covered with a white veil, a crown of thorns on his head and lying in the coffin was carried on men's shoulders throughout the town. Christ's coffin was
Procession 1952
followed by a very expressive statue of Mary (Addolorata) dressed in black.  The flickering candles in the dark and the solemn singing of the "Miserere" brought deep sadness and tears.

House Blessing

Holy Saturday (Sabato Santo) was marked with the blessing of the Holy Water (Acqua Santa). The priests in towns would go from house to house and bless them. A boy with a basket and a bucket filled with Holy Water would accompany the priest. Out of gratitude, eggs were given in exchange for the blessings. 


Joy would explode on Easter Sunday with the Resurrection of Christ, the incessantly ringing of the church bells, the greeting of relatives with Buona Pasqua and the savoring of "spring" lamb chops (agnello sulla brace) smothered with lard, garlic and fresh rosemary and grilled on the fireplace (the most delectable seasonal treat).

Pupa (doll shaped cake)

We celebrated with other traditional dishes made from eggs and lamb, both symbolizing the season rebirth, such as:  "Spring" lamb stew with cheese and eggs (spezzatino d’agnello cacio e ova) and Lasagna.  Our traditional desserts were Fiadone (cheese cake), Pastoni, Mostaccioli, pupe e cavalli di Pasqua (doll and horse shaped cakes) and Pizza dolce (Cream filled sponge cake saturated with coffee and rum).
Some recipes will follow.
Altalena (Swings)

      Then, there was Pasquetta (Easter Monday), a national holiday in Italy, when we headed for the fields to picnic and celebrate the arrival of spring.  The family, together with friends and relatives, feasted on frittata (egg omelet) made with wild asparagus foraged by my father, young fava beans from the garden, fiadone and red wine.  How can I forget the laughter swinging from a tree? 

Today, with the exception of slaughtering the "spring" lamb, we carry on some of the traditions.  As to Pasquetta (Easter Monday), it's not a national holiday here. 
Wishing you all.... Buona Pasqua!         

Venerdi Santo - Good Friday in Casalbordino  http://youtu.be/no9giDAkBio