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.
Mary Jane Cryan historian, cruise lecturer,author and publisher of books on Italian history and central Italy has been residing in Italy for half a century. See her award winning website www.elegantetruria.com and weekly blog posts on http://50yearsinitaly.blogspot.it for more about central Italy and to order books directly from the author.