Italians on Italians
Beyond Toscano

The little Easter picnic

In Italy it’s the biggest holiday of the year after Christmas, but while yuletide celebrations tend to revolve around the family, Easter is all about friends. It all comes to a crescendo on Easter Monday, a day known as Pasquetta. Literally translated, Pasquetta means ‘little Easter’ and is a day traditionally spent outdoors, with a bountiful picnic to put a smile on your face. 
In fact, many people even refer to Pasquetta as the national picnic holiday, with the whole concept of picnics supposedly originating from this day. 
Legend has it, after Jesus rose from the tomb, one of his first appearances was to two disciples on the road to Emmaus, on the outskirts of Jerusalem. So on this day, believers feel urged to make a pilgrimage ‘gita fuori porta’ (outside the gates of the city) and enjoy a picnic with friends. 
Easter Monday in Italy is also known as lunedì dell'Angelo (Monday of the angel) as it was the day the angel supposedly met the women sent to anoint Jesus’ body and told of his resurrection. 
Whatever they call the day, however they spend it, Italians cherish the chance to spend some quality time with the ones they care about, and of course, to tuck-in to some good food.