Paquetta: An Italian Holiday
Today is one of the most important holidays in Italy: "pasquetta," literally "little Easter," but taken to mean Easter Monday. Sometimes called "il lunedì dell'angelo" ("Monday of the angel") for the biblical meeting of the women and the angel outside Jesus's empty tomb, there is little of a religious nature in how the day is celebrated in today's Italy .
Pasquetta is historically a day for the countryside: after the church celebrations and pomp of Easter Sunday, it was a day to escape to nature, pack a picnic lunch, throw some meat on a barbecue, and enjoy the start of spring. Sometimes, particularly for those who don't have a place in the country, you might go to a restaurant with friends to celebrate, but usually even the most ardent city dweller will find some green space where they can enjoy the day.
And although traditionally pasquetta may have focussed on a picnic lunch made from the leftovers of the huge Easter feast, in my experience it has simply been a huge feast part 2!
I have spent several Easters in Sardinia, and pasquetta included a day in the countryside stuffing ourselves full of mixed appetizers (cheese and salami, fried or grilled vegetables and the like), a couple of pasta dishes, and whole roasted animals, usually a small suckling pig, lamb, and sometimes a goat as well. We would collapse on the grass under a tree afterwards to rest. While Easter was a family day, pasquetta often included extended family and friends, a group so big that we'd have to eat around the ping pong table.
By Peg Kern