Umbria and its Easter traditions

Rites and customs characterize the Easter period in Umbria, renewing itself for centuries and telling of ancient stories and symbolic values ​​related to the Christian and popular tradition.

In the Green Heart of Italy, between soul places, religious rituals, popular traditions, typical dishes, here you can find all the suggestion and the charm of Easter in Umbria.

It is impossible not to be fascinated by the traditions that characterize Easter time in Umbria, among religion and folklore, rituals and typical dishes, curiosity and mysticism. Everybody is rooted in a distant past, which brings back to the present many deeply felt celebrations and unique customs. 

Every town or village in Umbria is involved: Assisi with its characteristic Easter Triduum, among the Scavigliazione (the Deposition from the Cross) and the suggestive Brotherhoods Procession; Bevagna where the Confraternity of Mercy reproduces the fourteenth-century Dead Christ Procession of great emotional impact, it also reproduces the most festive Run of Risen Christ and the Bowed, the meeting of Christ and Virgin statues; Città della Pieve where are represented some Living Pictures in which tens of actors interpret the Passion, the Death and Rising Christ. It is secular the Procession of the Dead Christ in Gubbio with the brethren who play the “battistrangole”, they lead the Passion symbols and they sing the Miserere; the Donation of the Holy Thorn, at Montone village, does also have medieval origins. It is a historical re-enactment of Jesus crown Thorn which Carlo Fortebracci received and brought it to Montone, declaring the celebration on Easter Monday: according to legend the Thorn flourished on Good Friday emanating a scent which evoked thousands of pilgrims. Spello instead becomes an open-air art gallery: the 14 stops that commemorate the Christ Passion draw inspiration several national and international artists, who realize many paintings placed in the old town for an Auteur Way of the Cross.    

Among the many popular traditions stand out that one from Pietralunga, where the Easter Sunday in the town square, the population challenges in a game of eggs drop with the Tocciata, that one from Panicale where on Easter Monday takes place the traditional Ruzzolone contest, which consists in throwing a big piece of cheese making it rolling around on the floor as a wheel, or that one from Ferentillo where the three Terzieri will compete in three games with eggs shots in Lu Ciuccittu, which ended with the classic truffle omelet cooked with eggs used during the games.

On the other hand also Easter time typical recipes do have a significant role in the celebrations of Umbria, from typical breakfast to Easter lunch, whit many dishes that have an extremely symbolic value. Starting with the Easter Pizza cheese-based, which you can taste with the traditional capocollo, prepared during Christmas time whose seasoning ended with the start of spring and with Easter celebrations. This cake is generally cooked in wood-fired ovens on Holy Thursday or Holy Friday and, considering that they are days for fast, you should not be tasted it until the “bells ringing”.

In Umbria still today the Resurrection is celebrated with a special breakfast, that brings our family together around the table for eating the Easter Pizza and then salami, wild grasses omelet, offal, colored eggs, chocolate, red wine…everything blessed at church on Holy Saturday morning.

Between the typical sweets the ciaramicola cannot be lacking, a doughnut  with white frosting and small colored candies, while the dough is colored of a bright red, given by the alchermes: the red and white would represent Perugia colors, while yellow, green and blue little candies would represent wheat, pastures and Trasimeno Lake waters. According to tradition it was the sweet the represented love, which on Easter day girls gave to their lovers.

A little curiosity: in Trevi on Holy Saturday it is customary to plant tiny black celery seeds.