Se piove sulla palma, non piove sulle uova… says an old proverb describing the weather between Palm Sunday and Easter. (If it rains on the palm, it won’t rain on the eggs.)
Last week there were many ceremonies connected to the Easter festivities. One of the oldest is the traditional visit to the symbolic
sepolcri (sepulchres) on Holy Thursday evening.
If you happen to be in one of the perhaps smaller and more traditional towns throughout the country, make a note of searching for the underground chapels or crypts of local churches. These are filled with vases holding wads of moist cotton sprinkled with seeds or grain that have been kept in the dark for several days until the grains and seeds have sprouted. These
sepolcri as they are called range in color from white filaments to light green and red depending on which seeds or grains are used.
Perfect symbols of the resurrection, the use of these sepulchres dates back to pre-Christian times when they symbolized the renewal of life in the spring…which this year fortunately included neither soggy palms nor wet eggs.
Resident in Italy since 1965, historian, author of guides and books on Italy and Italian history, publisher, cruise ship lecturer and founder of Elegant Etruria travel consultancy. Mary Jane was one of the first contributors to Italian Notebook in 2007. Sign up for her blog
50yearsinItaly for more stories about life in central Italy.