Easter in Perugia
What is Easter?
Easter is the most important religious Feast of Christianity, because it celebrates the resurrection of Jesus, dead crucified, for our salvation and redemption.
The word Easter comes from the Aramaic pasha and literally means “to pass by” or “passage”, with reference to the escape of the Jews from Egypt through th e miraculous passage of the Red Sea. For Christianity it symbolizes the passage from the earthly life to the eternal one of Jesus Christ through the Passion and his death.
When does Easter 2019 fall?
This is the question we ask ourselves every year because Easter Day changes from year to year, but it is always the Sunday after the full moon after the spring equinox, so between March 22 and April 25. This year Easter is on April 21st and as usual we are preparing to spend it with our families and to plan the traditional trip outside on Easter Monday, also known as Angel Monday.
Easter in Umbria
Easter is one of the best occasions to choose to come to Umbria because the spring begins and the countryside wakes up from the winter torpor to fill with colours. Umbria is a very spiritual land and there is no village that does not celebrate Easter with masses and processions, offering tourists a choice of events to spend a few days in the name of calm, tradition and even with good food.
Where to go for Easter and Easter Monday in Umbria and what to do?
What to do in Perugia for Easter
In Perugia, Easter is a heartfelt feast and every person here is preparing to experience this moment of spirituality and rebirth following the traditions handed down from generations to generations.
Easter in Perugia, as in all of Umbria, is not only on Sunday, but all Holy Week, full of events and celebrations that will involve you during your stay.
Solemn but at the same time intimate masses begin with Palm Sunday, in which Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem is remembered and the olive branches are blessed, which will be jealously kept in the houses as a symbol of peace and protection; the masses for the blessing of the chrismal oils; Mass on Holy Thursday with the feet washing; the Way of the Cross on Good Friday evening and the vigil of Holy Saturday before Easter.
The Way of the Cross
The sacred representation of the Way of the Cross is the most intense and spectacular moment of Holy Week, because it is not a simple procession but a veritable theatrical representation in which many extras and real actors participate…Barefoot, with chains tied to the ankles and wearing hooded clothes, they follow the Christ who bears the Cross suffering until Calvary. Imagine the suggestion of the dark, lit only by the light of candles and torches: a moment of deep sharing and participation in the suffering of the Savior, which in an instant becomes ours too.
These events, such as the representations of the Jesus’ Passion or the Dead Christ’ processions, are moments of great faith but also of heartfelt participation, and the splendid context of the medieval villages of Umbria makes everything more suggestive.
After the commemoration of the Passion and the death of Jesus, Easter Sunday arrives and the houses are filled with hope and a sense of rebirth. Even a tourist who comes to visit these lands will breathe this air.
Easter breakfast in Perugia
Easter morning in the houses is a real feast made of scents, flavours and colours: it is the day dedicated to the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, a moment of spiritual rebirth and full of symbolic meanings. These aspects are also found in the rich and delicious Perugian Easter breakfast.
On Easter mornings it’s a tradition to prepare a rich table with typical food and be blessed during mass. In a basket every housewife usually puts hard-boiled eggs, a Christian symbol of resurrection, the typical cold cut par excellence which is the capocollo and the Easter cake, also known as Easter Pizza in other parts of Umbria.
What is Easter Cake?
Are you curious about the Easter cake? What is it and how it is made?
It will surprise you to know that even if it is called “cake” it is not a sweet but a savoury product, made with a dough made from flour, eggs, pecorino cheese and Parmesan, lard and pepper, with a characteristic panettone shape. A triumph of flavours that matches perfectly with “capocollo” and other Umbrian cured meat: if you come to Perugia it will be the first dish you will absolutely have to taste!
Each family has its own secret recipe and, of course, is convinced that theirs it is the best!
But there is also a sweet cake and it is the Ciaramicola, the most typical Easter cake in the city of Perugia. Do you want to know why?
Ciaramicola and its history
The Ciaramicola is very good but also so beautiful to see: it is a bundt cake with a pink colour due to the presence of alchermes in the mixture, covered with a white meringue made with the sugared egg whites, whipped and baked and then, decorated with colourful sprinkles. Why are these colours so special? The Ciaramicola appearance has a very strong symbolism and it is intimately linked to the Perugia history: the red colour of the dough in contrast with the white of the meringue recalls the emblem of the city, with the silver griffin on the scarlet shield, while the sprinkles have the same colours of the 5 historical districts of the city: Porta Sole, Porta Sant’Angelo, Porta Santa Susanna, Porta Eburnea and Porta San Pietro. Therefore, the Ciaramicola is not only a dessert but it is a true artwork … and above all, it is very good!
Do you know that, according to tradition, it was donated by promised young women to their boyfriends on Easter Sunday? Today you can taste it at any time but it is always the Easter favourite lunch dessert.
In Perugia Easter is also an opportunity to visit the great Pasqua Fair, which has been held in the old town for years, with colourful stands along Corso Vannucci and Piazza Matteotti.
The Easter Fair
In Perugia the Easter Fair has been a consolidated event for some years, loved by Perugian people but also by many tourists who choose to spend their Easter holidays here. Among the stands you can find a beautiful assortment of handicrafts, antiques, curious products and gastronomy from every Italian region, including street food.
A nice walk through its stands, will lead you to visit to the most beautiful sights in the centre of Perugia, perhaps on Easter Monday, a day traditionally dedicated to trips.