The soulful week of Easter celebrations in my hometown of Augusta, Sicily is one of my favorite times of the year. Easter/Pasqua is really felt and lived by all Sicilians – whether you are Catholic or not – I invite you to travel to our island at least once in your lifetime to partake and be immersed in all the exciting celebrations that take place in many Sicilian towns and villages.
Holy Thursday is generally dedicated to the visit of sepolcri/sepulchers as we remember the passing of Jesus. Churches are adorned in commemorative altars. The feeling is highly spiritual and communal. On Holy Friday, the bravest and most faithful rise at 4 or 5 a.m. to relive the funeral of Jesus. Devotees carry him around town thankful for graces received throughout the year. The local band fills the air with intense and dramatic melodies setting the tone for another intense spiritual encounter. Holy Thursday and Friday are two special days during the Sicilian Easter because they are a deep reflection not only of the devotion and spirituality of many Sicilians, but an intrinsic facet of the identity of all Sicilians: that life is also suffering, loss, pain, grieving, and death. And by remembering and reliving this, we partake fully in the cycle of life. On the evening of Holy Friday, more processions continue around town as Jesus meets his mother, the Madonna, the “Addolorata/the Sorrowful.” We then return home and continue in the spirit of community and remembrance as we share bread together.
Saturday is a day of rest and contemplation as we prepare for a special day of celebration: Easter Sunday/La Domenica di Pasqua. Some will have gone to midnight mass on Saturday night, while many prefer Sunday morning. Here, we rejoice and feel again the miracle that was the Resurrection of Jesus – the power of faith and real love. We must celebrate this event of faith and feast together with opulent Easter tables, celebrations often continuing until late at night. This feeling is continued on Easter Monday/Pasquetta when colorful spring tables and spectacular temperatures (18/20 C, 70 F) welcome true spring into our days.
Buonanotte e Una Serena Pasqua a voi e alle vostre famiglie.