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An Italian Easter

Easter is a Christian holiday and it is a holiday celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ according to the New Testament after three days after his crucifixion, in fact Good Friday is to mourn his death and the Easter Sunday to celebrate his rising from the dead. Easter is not a fixed holiday and therefore the days it is celebrated changes each year, Easter is calculated on a moon calendar and it comes on the first Sunday after the Paschal full moon usually it falls either in March or April.

In Italy people celebrate Easter either with friends or family or both, and on Sunday morning people first go to Church and then have an Easter lunch which usual lasts for hours. In Italy most likely businesses will be open for a half a day on Good Friday to mourn but the Monday after Easter called Pasquetta everything is closed.

The lunch is a big event where you sit down and eat and talk with your family and friends; typically there will be several courses, of course the dishes may vary from region to region as well as from family to family, just a few basic things will be the same, the lamb, the chocolate eggs and the Colomba cake, the lamb and the eggs represent the sacrifices that Jesus made for his people.

For appetizers you can have some small crackers with different pate’s on them and a meat plate, and saltines and bread, but you can also be creative here and serve anything you would like.

For the first entrée you have a lasagna usually it will be a white vegetable one but the one with the marinara sauce is also good, but most of the time even this one will be served with out meat, but you can also opt for spinach or artichokes raviolis.

For the second entrée you will have oven-baked lamb with rosemary potatoes and artichokes with olive oil and lemons as another side dish, but you can also cook the lamb differently with either a prune sauce, with honey or with capers, and if you do not eat lamb you can eat fish shish-kebabs, or oven-baked fish but instead of lamb you can always cook chicken the same style.

For desserts you will have chocolate eggs mainly for children since they do have toys inside, a Colomba cake (Colomba means dove and it represents peace), and different regions will have their typical cakes like for example the Naples Pastiera.