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In Italy, Easter is a holiday typified by its ceremony, events, and its extravagant foods. In preparation for the holiday in Italy, bakeries fill their windows with boxes of panettone, chocolate eggs, and sweet breads with hard-boiled, pastel-colored eggs baked in their centers.


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Women line up outside of their local butcher shops to pick up fresh cuts of capretto (baby goat) or lamb, and carry them home in brown paper wrapped bundles.

Home kitchens are strong with scents of garlic, roast peppers, pickled vegetables and fresh cut tomatoes for antipasto. The Italian Easter feast is considerable, most likely because it also marks the end of Lent on the Roman Catholic calendar, a 6-week period of fasting and abstinence.

The last week of Lent, Holy week, is marked throughout Italy with solemn processions; elder women dressed and veiled in black, men carrying ceramic statues of the Madonna, everyone carrying their wooden or glass rosaries. Easter's bright colors, upbeat sounds and parades are in stark contrast, and this excess is best demonstrated at the dinner table. Roasted meats, aged cheeses and pastas fill the table, and the sweet smell of sugary confections perfumes the air. Without doubt, the Italian Easter celebration is the definitive holiday feast. Mangia!


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