Posted by: dreamitalia | March 22, 2008

Buona Pasqua! Happy Easter!

Wishing a very Happy Easter to our Dream Italia friends. In Italy, it is commonly said that one should spend Christmas with your family, Easter with whomever you choose. Whether you are celebrating with friends or family, may your celebration be happy. While we may have an Easter Egg Hunt underway, in Florence, they honor the day a little differently!

Traditional Easter Ceremony in Florence (Written by About.com)

For over 300 years the Easter celebration in Florence has included the annual Scoppio del Carro – the explosion of the cart. This ritual, during which an elaborate wagon, a structure built in 1679 and standing two to three stories high, is dragged through Florence behind a fleet of white oxen decorated in garlands. The pageantry ends in front of the Basilica di S. Maria del Fiore, the Duomo, where Mass is held. During the midday service, a holy fire is stoked by ancient stone chips from the Holy Sepulcher, and the Archbishop lights a dove–shaped rocket which travels down a wire and collides with the cart in the square, setting off spectacular fireworks and explosions to the cheers of all. A big bang ensures a good harvest, and a parade in medieval costume follows.

Easter Eggs are treated differently in Italy as well, read on from About.com; 

Uova di Pasqua
Although Italians do not decorate hard–boiled eggs nor have chocolate bunnies or pastel marshmallow chicks, the biggest Easter displays in bars, pastry shops, supermarkets, and especially at chocolatiers are brightly wrapped uova di Pasqua—chocolate Easter eggs—in sizes that range from 10 grams (1/3 ounce) to 8 kilos (nearly 18 pounds). Most of them are made of milk chocolate in a mid–range, 10–ounce size by industrial chocolate makers.

Some producers distinguish between their chocolate eggs for children (sales numbers are a closely guarded secret, but the market for these standard quality eggs is said to be shrinking with Italy’s birthrate) and expensive “adult” versions. All except the tiniest eggs contain a surprise. Grown–ups often find their eggs contain little silver picture frames or gold–dipped costume jewelry. The very best eggs are handmade by artisans of chocolate, who offer the service of inserting a surprise supplied by the purchaser. Car keys, engagement rings, and watches are some of the high–end gifts that have been tucked into Italian chocolate eggs in Italy.

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