While you headed back to work yesterday – Italians kept the Easter party going by celebrating Pasquetta (Easter Monday).
Image © Concierge in Umbria The view from Brian’s Pasquetta hike.
What is Pasquetta?
The Italian suffix “etta” typically refers to something that is small and sweet, so Pasquetta is often translated to “little Easter,” or often “Easter Monday,” since it always falls on the Monday after Easter.
As a religious observance, Lunedi dell’Angelo, the holiday celebrates the Virgin Mary and Mary Magdalena meeting an angel outside Jesus’s tomb. But in practice, it’s a way to add an extra day to the Easter holiday weekend – and make sure you work off some of the calories you put on eating on Easter Sunday.
How Do You Celebrate?
On Pasquetta, the main goal is to get outside. As Easter takes place after the spring equinox, it’s naturally a time when days are getting longer, plants are starting to bloom, and weather is getting better.
Italians pack a picnic and head to the nearest (or nicest) green space they can find, whether it’s a city park or the countryside. Rural towns often have organized parties with a big outdoor lunch and dancing with a live band.
Though egg rolling is a common activity, one Umbrian town takes things even further. In Panciale, the city organizes a cheese wheel-rolling racecourse.
The Real Question: What to Eat?
Easter day commonly begins with a breakfast of torta di Pasqua (see more about Easter breads in our “In Season” column) and a cured meat like capocollo.
So it’s very to natural to pack the extra leftovers in a basket for a Pasquetta picnic. Egg-based foods, whether extra hard-boiled eggs or easy make-ahead dishes like frittatas, round out the basket.
Our Favorite Pasquetta Pastimes
There’s an Italian saying, “Natale con i tuoi, pasqua con chi vuoi” (Christmas with family, Easter with who you want).
Pasquetta is a perfect time to visit some of our favorite friends in Italy for a day of relaxing in the country with great food. This spring has not been kind to Italy on the weather front. Easter Sunday was filled with torrential downpours and even hail in central Umbria where we live. The Pasquetta forecast didn’t leave much hope for a nice day for a picnic either but the sun was shining when we woke up and it didn’t rain until the evening. Brian went for a hike with friends in the hills behind Mt. Subasio that ended with a raucous lunch of roast pork shanks, polenta, chicken stew and overflowing jugs of wine. That evening we met clients for an elegant wine tasting in Spello before (yet another) rainy drive home.