Don’t Fugetta Pasquetta

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by Victor Caneva

All photographs courtesy of Victor Caneva

Our family first learned about Pasquetta during a simple trip to the grocery store. It was early April, less than a month after moving to Italy, and we were immersed in the overwhelming process of learning how to function and operate in a new country, language, and culture. Easter was right around the corner, and I noticed an ad posted near the entrance to the supermercato detailing specials for Easter (Pasqua) and Pasquetta. 

A great place for a Pasquetta Snack

Ashley and I looked at each-other with confusion. What in the world was Pasquetta? Easter’s cute little sister? The name of a festive Italian Easter bunny who generously passes out colombe to children? We promptly asked a friendly cashier who shared that Pasquetta is a continuation of Easter festivities held on the Monday after Easter. Loving to learn new cultural tidbits, we left the store happily, but desperately failing to understand that Pasquetta is also a national holiday where almost everything remains closed.

The Carso is a great place to get outside and celebrate Pasquetta

Fast forward a week or so and Ashley and I were taking inventory of what we needed for Easter weekend. We needed toilet paper and some other staples, but we were tired and figured we could get by until Monday without a trip to the store. After a festive Easter Sunday, we really needed to replenish our supplies and headed out to shop the next morning. It was then that we discovered Pasquetta is not just a cultural observance, but a full-blown holiday. We returned home humbly and made it through the day, making sure to be frighteningly stingy in the bathroom.

Blooms above Trieste

Pasquetta, simply put, is Easter Monday and it is celebrated as a public holiday in many countries. In Italy, it has been celebrated as a national holiday since the end of the Second World War and is also sometimes called Lunedì dell’Angelo. This name serves to commemorate the angel who appeared to the women who visited Jesus’ empty tomb, informing them of the good news of his resurrection. Pasquetta, however, is not an official day of worship for the Catholic Church.

Carso Path

As the popular saying, “Natale con i tuoi, Pasqua con chi vuoi” (“Christmas with yours… [eg family], Easter with who you want”) implies, Easter in Italy is a social affair where friends and family alike gather to eat and enjoy each other’s company. Pasquetta celebrations tend to have a special focus on the outdoors – quite fitting for a celebration of new life in the springtime. Many prepare portable delicacies and cater convivial countryside picnics. Fragrances of tasty regional dishes combine with the freshness of the spring air to create an inviting, hopeful aroma as the color returns to the mountains, hills, fields, and coastlines of this Bel Paese

Trieste from the Carso

Hope you didn’t forget to buy toilet paper before Easter. That Monday trip to the store might not work out for you. 

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Victor Caneva
“I was born in Florida, but spent most of my childhood in Spain and Japan. At 18, I hopped back over to the US where I attended college and later spent rewarding years performing analysis and writing about national security topics. Within the last two years, my wife and I completely shifted gears, decided to move our family to Italy, and now create content to help instill a love of cultural diversity in young children. A recent Italian-American dual citizen, I’m thrilled to be in the region my great-grandfather called home. I love learning about the unique cultural, culinary, and historical nuances that make Trieste the magical city it is!”

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