The broom,the ashes, the leaf

I still believe in Santa, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy and true love. Don’t even try to tell me different.” – Dolly Parton

When I was a kid, Easter was my favourite holiday of the year: no school for almost a week, I could spend days outdoors enjoying the sunshine and the flowers blooming, and I could have ALL the chocolate.

I never thought about the religious aspect of this day, I only new that for one week I could have the time of my life: sunshine, freedom, chocolate.

The weeks before Easter were all about finding the perfect egg, so I would go in every supermarket and patisserie near my house and explore what were the options for that year. So far, my favourite one is a milk chocolate egg with salt and caramelised almonds that I got in 2007. After 14 years, I still think about that egg.

This year I am a little bit late, but the plan is to order a pistachio Easter egg from a store in Bronte, Sicily – I can’t wait!

Even if Easter is a religious holiday, the tradition of having eggs around this time has pagan origins – eggs were considered a symbol of rebirth and a new cycle of life, so they were eaten to celebrate spring. For Christians, eggs represented the tomb from which Jesus resurrected, so in a way this tradition is still related to rebirth and a new cycle of life. It is also believed that it was forbidden to eat eggs during Lent, so during this time they would be boiled and decorated, to be then eaten on Easter as a celebration of Jesus’ resurrection.

While eggs are an Easter tradition almost everywhere in the world, there are some rituals that were particularly popular in some Italian regions and that make this celebration even more fascinating to me:

Blessed eggs: eggs would be blessed by the local church, then brought home and eaten on Easter. After bringing the water to boil, the eggs would be cooked while the family says the Apostles’ Creed. If said with the correct metrics and timings, the time taken to say this prayer would make the perfectly cooked egg;

The broom: in some areas in the centre of Italy, the day before Easter, women would hit each corner of their house with a broom, in order to get rid of evil entities;

The ashes: in the north of Italy, it was common to keep the log burnt at Christmas, and at Easter spread its ashes in each corner of the house-this practice was also used to get rid of evil entities;

The leaf: in the South, it was believed that the burning an olive leaf would reveal if you had found your soul mate: if the leaf crumpled, it was true love, but if the leaf stayed straight, you better look for another partner!

The water: at the ringing of the bells at Easter Sunday, people would wash their face with fresh water, as it was believed that this would prevent any future illnesses;

New clothes: it was believed that wearing something new at Easter would bring good health for the year to come.

Now I would like to hear from you! Feel free to share the traditions/rituals from your country, I am so curious to see how Easter is celebrated around the world 🙂


21 thoughts on “The broom,the ashes, the leaf

  1. What I remember the most was the feasting. Mom would cook for days, we would color eggs, and there would always be a lot of relatives. We had a big ham or lamb with all the trimmings, fussy potatoes, lots of vegetable side dishes, sweet breads, and always strawberry shortcake. Happy spring, and may your week be filled with sunshine, blooming flowers, and that special chocolate egg!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. If you can remember it after 14 years, it must have really good!
    Although a couple of the traditions are different (burning olive leaves, for instance) I had a very similar childhood Easter (French Canada), including a week from school.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I have just discovered after reading your blog that we have someting in common such as my fav holiday is also Easter! Maybe because I was born in April 6th maybe not but I dislike Christmas and love Easter…


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