The arrival of spring in Napoli, houses get ready to welcome Easter celebrations: they are cleaned from the ground up as a symbol to get free from the grey of winter. In fact, according to tradition, at Easter, the whole city has to be renovated. Easter rites go on for the whole holy week, both the religious ones and the ones at home.
In this article, you will find information regarding Easter celebrations in Napoli, with the traditions and the typical products.
Easter celebrations in Napoli start with Palm Sunday, the one before Easter. During this day, people retrace Christ’s Passion and bless olive branches, which are exchanged as a symbol of peace, recalling Jesus’ return to Jerusalem.
During Holy Thursday, there is the rite of “Sepolcri” (translation: sepulchers). During these rites, the Last Supper is celebrated, which is why every altar of repose of every church is decorated with flowers and carpets. People visit the so-called sepolcri, they kneel and pray for Jesus.
Holy Friday is dedicated to processions, in particular Via Crucis. It is a procession that traces Jesus’ path to Mount Calvary, in preparation for his crucifixion. Sepolcri are still open, which is why many people go as they want to pay homage to Jesus’ body.
Holy Saturday, in Napoli, is the day of “struscio” (rub). The word indicates the sound of drapes rubbing the streets when women walk. This day, in fact, is dedicated to showing off the new clothes on the streets of the city. Furthermore, many people go shopping in order to find something nice to wear on Easter day.
At midnight between Saturday and Sunday, bells start ringing, and “the glory melts”, meaning Jesus has resurrected. During Easter Sunday, the real protagonist is food. The perfect way to celebrate Easter is having a big lunch with the whole family, which is why all the streets are going to be empty.
Easter Monday or “Pasquetta”
Easter holidays end with Easter Monday, also known as Pasquetta. Usually, people spend this day having a picnic with their families or friends, most of the time in the countryside or in special places.
Traditional Easter food in Napoli
Obviously, there is no Easter without traditional food. In fact, the schedule is determined by the different dishes that must be eaten on specific days, whose food has to be bought at the traditional markets.
On Holy Thursday, at dinner, there is a dish that cannot miss: spicy mussel soup. It is prepared with mussels and octopus, which are cooked and served on friselle, which are similar to bread.
Of course, the best food is served on Easter day. It starts with a rich appetizer that consists of cold cuts, cheese, and eggs. The name of this dish is “fellata”, which recalls the way the ingredients are arranged: they are all sliced. Sometimes, people also add ricotta. Another protagonist of Easter Sunday is Casatiello. It consists of a quiche, whose main characteristic is the eggs on the surface. It is usually filled with cheese and cold cuts in little cubes.
The most famous Easter dessert, which is also one of the most representatives of Neapolitan patisserie, is Pastiera. It is a very old recipe that dates back to 1500, and it was improved by the nuns of San Gregorio Armeno. It is made of wheat, ricotta, and sugar, covered with rhombuses according to traditions.
A dish that is typical of Pasquetta (or Easter Monday) is roasted artichokes. They are first grilled and then dressed with pepper, salt, oil, garlic, and parsley. There is also a padded variant, filled with bread, cold cuts, cheese, and eggs.