In Ireland and Italy alike, Easter is supposed to be a catholic celebration marking the end of Lent. For some it is, but for most Irish people it means eating chocolate for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and Italy it is any excuse for a mangiata…of course.
In both countries it is slightly less important than Christmas, despite its religious significance.
In Ireland, we buy each other Easter eggs. When I was a kid the “Easter bunny” brought us one Easter egg each. When we woke on Easter Sunday there was a string tied to the end of our beds which we had to follow to find our eggs. We then ate our Easter eggs, and whatever other chocolate the Easter Bunny brought us, for the entire day. We also got new clothes and used to go to mass on Easter Sunday.
Traditionally in Ireland we eat lamb at Easter time. This tradition has died out for most, but lamb is still promoted in supermarkets around Easter time as some still follow the tradition.
Italians of course don’t need any excuse to have a mangiata but with every celebration comes an abundance of food. There is a traditional Italian lunch of roast lamb among other foods on Easter Sunday. Of course the mangiata doesn’t stop there…Easter Sunday is followed by Pasquetta on Monday. On Pasquetta many Italians will traditionally have a big grigliata or barbecue with friends or family. Lamb cutlets and Italian sausage are usually among the foods grilled on the BBQ during Pasquetta.
Northern Italians have a traditional Easter cake called Colomba. It is kind of like the Easter version of the Christmas Panettone and is made similarly. It has the same consistency as a Panettone but contains candied peels and almonds, with icing sugar pieces on top. Colomba originates from Milan and was made famous by the milanese baker Angelo Motta, founder of the famous Motta food company.
The Easter Bunny still brings me an Easter egg to this day, but I don’t get to do the fun hunt with the string anymore, nor get new clothes or go to mass either. I do of course eat chocolate for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and then feel completely guilty. So much so that this year Easter will be followed by a 3 day juice detox. Keep an eye out for that post!
Happy Easter!…Buona Pasqua!