Well, it’s been a social whirlwind for the past week, which means no time to blog. But this is the first time I’ve experienced Easter here, and it’s interesting because it’s even bigger than Christmas. There must be some arcane religious reason why Catholics celebrate the resurrection more and C of E celebrates the nativity more, but who knows what it is? I ought to look it up, probably.
Gifts were exchanged with neighbours. Much in evidence was a cake made of ricotta and grains of wheat and egg and orange blossom water. It seemed to come in both sweet and savoury versions, and at the party for Pasquetta (little Easter) I went to last night, I was told that every village makes a slightly different version of it. It’s nice, if a little heavy. This party was one of those ‘bring a dish’ buffet dinners, and I’d brought breaded chicken drumsticks and potato wedges. I was reminded of the general Italian interest in food and local food in particular when people asked me if these were traditional British Easter delicacies. I was like, ‘Um, no.’. Now I wish I’d made hot cross buns instead. Not that you’d really want to eat those for dinner. I couldn’t think of any other British Easter dish except Simnel cake, and I wasn’t even really sure what that was, except that somehow it involved marzipan. Cadbury’s creme eggs?
Today we took guests over to Paestum to check out the temples, and found that typical Bank holiday behaviour also extends to Italy, with crowds of people descending on beauty spots. Bank holiday roads are bad enough in England but here we have the addition of insane, let me repeat, IN-FUGGIN-SANE driving on the SS18, known in local media as the ‘Autostrada of Death’. Which given that I was sitting in the middle of the back seat with no seat-belt and a great view of all the head-on traffic coming flat out towards us down the wrong side of the road before nipping in with metres to spare, was not conducive to bank holiday relaxation. I am not exaggerating at all. I have no doubt there’ll be deaths this weekend. And families will weep, and it will be entirely down to sucidally stupid driving, a wholly avoidable self-slaughter of ordinary, decent Italians. What makes them drive this way? I shall probably speculate in a later post.
The most interesting event of the Easter weekend, however, was probably the traditional reenactment of the events from the point at which Christ entered the Garden of Gethsemane leading up to the crucifixion. More about that later.