L’uovo di Pasqua, this unknown

pasquaDear American,

If in the few weeks before Easter I tell you that I got you something and I proudly show you a big chocolate egg wrapped up in colorful paper, you are not supposed to stare at it with a puzzled look on your face. Smile and say thank you, because this is what we do for Easter in Italy!

People are expected to give up something for Lent, most likely this is something to eat, like chocolate. This is why Italian children receive chocolate treats for Easter. But why the egg? The egg has been used since ¬†among the most ancient peoples like Persians and Greeks as a gift for spring time. It represents in fact life and rebirth and was associated with the rebirth of nature after winter. However, when Christianity introduced the holiday of Easter, the analogy between the egg’s meaning and the resurrection of Jesus was quite obvious, and the egg was kept as symbol of the christian festivity. In medieval Europe, people started decorating eggs for Easter and only in the past two centuries, the tradition of hiding a small gift inside the egg was started.

And the “colomba”? Colomba, meaning ” dove” is a traditional Italian Easter cake, shaped as the bird symbol of Easter and peace. It is a rich cake, very similar to panettone, but covered in frosting and almonds.¬†Also, even if it has nothing to do with Easter, today is St.Joseph day and Italy celebrates Father’s day (Tanti auguri papa’!).

Therefore, sorry to disappoint your Easter egg hunt and your St.Patrick’s day, but if you have an Italian in your family, you will have to learn this.

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