Ciao! Mi chiamo Claudia! Ho scritto questa pagina per farvi sapere come si festeggia la Pasqua a casa mia: ad Alghero.
Hello! My name is Claudia! I have written this page to tell you about how we celebrate Easter at home in Alghero.
La Settimana Santa
written by Claudia, age 12 years
1. To wish somebody a 'Happy Easter' in Italian, you say - Buona Pasqua! This actually means 'good Easter.'
2. When a baby is born around the time of Easter, then it is common to name the baby Pasquale (for a boy) or Pasqualina (for a girl). So, if you meet an Italian called Pasquale, there is a good chance that his birthday is in March or April!
3. The seven days leading up to Easter Day are called la Settimana Santa - Holy Week. During this week we remember the events leading up to and including la Crocifissione di Gesù - the Crucifixion of Jesus.
4. The first day of la Settimana Santa is called la Domenica delle Palme - Palm Sunday. It is a happy day for children because we take a palm leaf or an olive branch to be blessed by the priest at church.
We do this to remember the day when Gesù rode into Gerusalemme and the people welcomed Him by laying palm leaves on the ground in front of Him.
5. During la Settimana Santa there are street processions, beginning on la Domenica delle Palme. The processions are to remember and to enact the events leading up to the death of Gesù. Everyone walks for miles! They follow a statue either of Gesù or His mother Maria. In Italian, her name is also la Madonna.
People watch the processions either from balconies or from the pavement. Some people attach red lights to their balconies so that they light up the route of the processions at night.
During the processions, groups of men carry platforms where there is either a statue of Gesù or a statue of Maria. The statue of Mary is sad because of what is happening to her Son. In the processions she is called Maria Addolorata or La Madonna Addolorata - Our Lady of Sorrows.
There are bands playing music and groups of singers. There are people reciting the prayer Ave Maria. They carry lanterns.
6. On Holy Thursday - il Giovedì Santo - there is a special ceremony in the churches. All the church bells are tied so that they cannot ring. The bells remain silent during the days when the suffering and death of Gesù is commemorated. They will they ring again on Easter Day to celebrate The Resurrection - La Risurrezione di Gesù.
On il Giovedì Santo, we think about il Cenacolo - the Last Supper of Jesus with His disciples.
7. Il Venerdì Santo
Important processions take place on il Venerdì Santo - Good Friday. This is the day when we remember the death of Gesù.
In Alghero, on Good Friday there is an enactment of The Crucifixion - La Crocifissione. This type of enactment is called un simulacro.
The first part of il simulacro involves a procession and a ceremony called L'Innalzamento del Cristo - meaning The Lifting Up of Jesus onto The Cross. People walk through the town towards the cathedral. They carry a statue of Gesù sulla Croce - Jesus on The Cross. They also carry two ladders.
Inside the cathedral, there is a big wooden cross that has already been positioned in front of the altar.
The two ladders that were carried in the procession are placed on each side of the cross.
Two priests climb the ladders and wait for the statue of Jesus to arrive. When He arrives, they carefully pull Him up with sashes.
When He is in the correct position on The Cross, they secure the nails on the statue's hands and feet.
Finally, una corona di spine - a crown of thorns - is placed on the statue's head.
Later in the day, there is the second part of il simulacro - the enactment. This part is called Lo Desclavament. This is a ceremony that enacts the moment when Jesus was taken down from The Cross - il Discendimento dalla Croce.
Maria Addolorata is carried through the town and arrives in the cathedral. She is positioned beneath The Cross where she observes her Son.
Secondo me - In my opinion - it really does seem as if the statues are alive and that the events are really taking place!
Next, the ladders are placed once again by The Cross so that two men dressed in ancient costumes can go up and remove the crown of thorns, remove the nails and gently lower Gesù. These men are called Varones and this ceremony is called Il Discendimento dalla Croce.
They carefully place Gesù in a golden casket called la Bara di Gesù Morto, which is covered in lace and then carried through the town in a procession called La Processione del Cristo Morto.
Photos: 1. The Varones who are removing the crown of thorns and the nails.
2. Gesù who has been placed in la bara.
La bara is carried through the town, followed by the statue of Maria Addolorata.
This procession is called La Processione del Cristo Morto.
On Good Friday, il Venerdì Santo, in Italy we do not eat meat. It would be considered wrong to eat anything with meat in it on this day. This is the day when everyone thinks about the death of Gesù. On Good Friday, meat reminds us of the body of Jesus on the Cross so you can only eat fish and food like vegetables, pasta, fruit and bread on this day.
8. La Domenica di Pasqua
After all the solemn processions of la Settimana Santa, everyone is very happy on Easter Day - la Domenica di Pasqua. On this day, we celebrate La Risurrezione di Gesù - The Resurrection of Jesus.
In my town of Alghero, on Easter Day, there is a special event in the morning. Two separate processions take place at the same time.
In one procession a statue of Gesù is carried and in the other they carry a statue of La Madonna.
Each procession finishes in the town square (la piazza) where the two statues meet. This event is called L'Incontro di Pasqua. La Madonna is happy and dressed in bright colours. At this time she is called La Madonna Gloriosa because she is meeting her Son who has risen. During this event He is called Gesù Risorto.
Gesù Risorto e La Madonna Gloriosa
As soon as Gesù Risorto and La Madonna Gloriosa meet each other, some men fire gunshots into the sky!
All the children cover their ears because it is very loud!
All the church bells start to ring as well! They have been silent since Thursday but now they are making lots of noise in order to celebrate La Risurrezione!
9. After the morning's special events, we all go home and eat lovely food. Some families prefer to eat in a restaurant. It is considered a very special meal. You can read about the food we eat on Easter Day on my page called Italian Easter Food.
10. The day after la Domenica di Pasqua is called Pasquetta - Easter Monday. On this day in Italy, it is the tradition for children to go on trips to the countryside, or for families to spend the day outside and to have a picnic. It is a very relaxing day.
Finally, I would just like to say.....
Auguri di Buona Pasqua!