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Easter weekend is not just about an egg hunt, the Easter Bunny, Easter parades and Easter bonnets. Of significance, is Holy Thursday, which according to the Bible, the Last Supper took place with Jesus and the disciples. Christians observe the holiest of all holidays, Good Friday (commemorating the crucifixion and death of Jesus), Easter Saturday (the day that Jesus Christ lay in the tomb after his death) and Easter Sunday, the holiday celebrating the resurrection of Jesus from the dead and giving devotion to his sacrifice. The Easter lily is the symbol of resurrection and decorates the church altar during the Easter season. Easter is linked to the Jewish Passover, with similar symbolism as well as the same time on the calendar.

Of course, no matter what religion, what culture or where in the world, the holidays are generally celebrated with a day of feasting and spending time with family and friends. There are many traditional foods served at an Easter feast, but most specifically lamb is the main dish.

In Italian homes, pizza rustica is a must (a pie with meat, cheese and ricotta) and casadelle, which is a lard bread made with prosciutto and other dry meats. Grain pie is served for dessert, which is a Neopolitan fruity ricotta and wheat pie recipe which is dense yet moist. Of course, what is an Italian dessert table without cannolis, pignoli nut cookies, chocolates, jelly beans, espresso, sambuca and limoncello.


A true Italian tradition, celebrated every year with our family, is an Easter Saturday luncheon. Lent, which is 40 days, not counting Sundays, begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Saturday. The 40 days represents the time Jesus spent in the wilderness, preparing to begin his ministry while enduring the temptation of Satan. Lent is a time of self-examination and reflection when Christians often choose to give up something or perhaps volunteer to give of themselves to others. The fast for many Christians is not eating meat mainly on Fridays during Lent and symbolizes a sacrifice in honor of Jesus and his sacrifice for mankind. At our Easter Saturday luncheon, all the traditional salumeria treats, such as salami, prosciutto, mortadella, sopressata, capicola, and then cheeses, i.e. mozzarella, gorgonzola, parmagiano chunks, and more are served. Roasted peppers, pickled mushrooms and eggplant, olives, pizza rustica and casadelle delight everyone sitting around the long dinner table. It’s always a very happy day, with Spring in the air, Easter baskets for the little ones in the family, a surprise visit by the Easter Bunny and favorite foods and drink which are plentiful and enjoyed by all. Simpatica!

Buona Pasqua a tutti!!!

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