Easter in Ischia

domenica delle palmeThe most important event of the Christianity, Easter, represents a time of sorrow that becomes time of joy afterwards. An important moment of cathartic re-birth through the sufferings of the God’s Son, in which the man’s sufferings live again. Christ dies and resurrects. And with Him, the Nature. Easter, in fact, has not the same date every year – the first Sunday after the first full moon and the vernal equinox – because it’s the same date of the beginning of the fine weather and boasts ancient venerations linked to the passage of Winter and to the ‘sunrise’.

As this year Easter arrives later, the spring air infects with everybody. A late Easter provokes a form of leisure. To us, living for tourism, the arrival of Easter represents the start point of the hotels’ opening, mixing the sacred and the profane.

It’s a good think that the Easter rites are very important for the Christian and the faith inside the people of Ischia. Every church and parish celebrates its Easter Mass collecting the faithful during the rites. The many congregations on the island, are displaced among Ischia, Forio and Testaccio under the name of Santa Maria di Costantinopoli, more orthodox than Christian and work for the Cathedral, the ‘Casa del Vescovo’.

Just in it, Diocesan celebrations are executed from the late afternoon’s rites on Maundy Thursday: the Mass in Cena Domini inaugurates the Easter triduo. The bishop of Ischia, S.E. Filippo Strofaldi, will present the holy oils in the morning during the Mass, will recite the Glory with the sound of bells and organ ( the first will be linked and the organ will be in silence until the Glory of the Easter vigil) and then the rite of the lavender of foot as symbol of the moment in which Jesus gave his disciples the commandment of love, base of our Christian religion: “That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another”.

In the past during the Glory moment, the young let birds fly away: they were the first wheatears of San Martino, redstarts and some ‘petarozzola’, which left Africa, during its recurrent migrations, gave own tribute to the Christ’s Glory.

On Good Friday, second day of the triduo, in the ancient Cathedral of Ischia risen up englobing the sixteenth-century Augustinian monastery, the bishop will celebrate the Passion and the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ. On Holy Saturday will be day of silence and meditation until the night vigil.

It’s Easter! Sorrow gives space to Joy. To tell the truth the memory of the abstinence gives space to the Easter recipes. Here, as in the entire Campania, the ‘tortano’ is the king of Easter and we can say:

It was a cake grow up just a bit,

Little of pork fat, cigoli and pig,

Leaven, flour with a piece lost,

A false cake low cost.

Easter arrived, Jesus resurrected for the cause,

became aware of how much he hungry was.

“guys I haven't eaten since Friday:

I have to eat in order to be tidy!

What is this? I asked you twice

Seeing it, is not nice,

But it is so good, delicious,

So that I become capricious!

I want it and much more,

It is perfect, can stay in the fore:

I have to find it in every store!

And, finally, on Easter Monday reserved for country tours, this year the beaches will be crowded by first season baths. Who will want to end the festivities classically but also in original way must run to Forio to participate, in the morning, to the Angel’s run, the most beautiful and holy representation of the entire island of Ischia.

It involves the entire country in an intense and moving apotheosis curiously mixing mystic and pagan elements, full of superstition and legends. The ‘coreuti’ at the first part of the street, are peasants and fishermen who strike up the ‘Regina Coeli’ with their foghorns, in a vulgar Latin ( the sicut, sicut dixit becomes sicute, sicute, sicute), but very fascinating. After the rite of the bows in the two sides of the street and finally the most aching moment of the entire representation: the Madonna without veil. Through a quick act, the Madonna loses her veil and finally she can rejoice at her Son’s resurrection. This is the common story of a witness who has not been able to communicate the pathos of the performance. So, I want to invite you, my readers, to run to Forio and on your faces and in your hearts like a whirl of emotions, you’ll feel sorrow and joy. And you’ll be able to cry and smile at the same time.

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Info on Ischia island

  • Surface: 46 Kmq
  • Hight: 789 mt
  • Lat.: 40° 44',82 N
  • Long.: 13° 56',58 E
  • Periplus: 18 miglia
  • Coasts: 51.2 Km
  • Cities: 6
  • Inhabitants: 58.029

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