Easter traditions in Umbria
Umbria is also known as the ‘Terra dei Santi‘ (Land of Saints), as I have already explained in my first post about my region, so for every important religious event several celebrations take place throughout the territory.
In particular, during Easter days, it is usual to get involved to organize performances and to prepare traditional dishes.
By the way every family create its own menu for the breakfast or the lunch of Easter day. In this occasion we used to eat hard-boiled eggs, salami, ham, lamb, Easter cake (or pizza) with cheese or the sweet version with candied fruit, raisins and confetti.
During the period of Lent, we open doors of our homes to the priest to receive the Easter blessing, in the same way, in the Holy week we fill a basket with the food that we’ll eat on Sunday and it will be blessed by the priest during a specific Mass.
In the Holy Week as well we have also several moments of religious contemplation.
One of them is the Lavanda dei Piedi (i.e. Washing of the feet), to call this ceremony took place in the evening of the Last Supper. The washing of the feet takes place in few towns on Holy Saturday. You can see it in Bevagna or in Passignano sul Trasimeno.
The most touching moment is that of the Good Friday where you can relive the Passion of Christ, through the Stations of the Cross or the processions of the dead Christ and of Our Lady of Sorrows.
For this occasion many people, involved in the performance, wear clothes that were used at the time of Jesus and recreate the characters of the Stations of the Cross, as Jesus carrying the cross, the 2 thieves, the Roman soldiers, Holy Mary, Mary Magdalene, the apostles and much more. They walk through the village and at churches the character that makes Jesus kneeling in a moment of prayer. During the procession you can see candles, Holy Statues, groups of religious brotherhoods and you can hear the terrifying sounds of pain and of chains sliding on the asphalt.
Gualdo Tadino, Gubbio, Foligno, Assisi, Bevagna, Norcia, Todi, Orvieto, Monteleone of Spoleto, Perugia, Montegabbione, Alviano, Norcia: these are only few village where the representation takes place.
In Easter Sunday, in Bevagna and in Montefalco, there’s the traditional race of the Risen Christ: the priest will open the Chruch’s door and a statue of the Risen Christ, supported on either side by men, quickly cross the aisle between two rows of crowd.
Another traditional event is the Rinchinata (i.e. The Bow). It is a procession that commemorates the meeting of the Risen Christ with the Mother through the 2 statues that make a bow each other. It takes place every Easter in Cannara and in Bastia Umbra.