Easter in Tuscany 2016: rituals and traditions of Elba Island

  • Published: 29-02-2016
  • Category: Events

Easter in Tuscany 2016: Elba Island

Easter in Tuscany 2016, on Elba Island is a moment of deep devotion. Time is marked by ancient rites: this is the Holy Week and these are the most important days.


Palm Sunday (March 20)

This is not only the day when Holy Week begins. According to tradition, Palm Sunday is the day when nature rises to new life after the rigors of winter. In the parishes of the island it is celebrated the blessing of palms and olive trees.

The Elba’s families bring to church palms and olive trees before the Mass. Instead children bring sportella.


Holy Thursday (March 24)

The rites of the Mass in Coena Domini (which recalls the last dinner of Christ) and of the washing of the feet take place in all the churches of Elba Island. During the Holy Thursday, Elba women bring vases with flowers to decorate sepulchres. In some churches, there is a sort of competition: only the most beautiful composition of flowers could decorate the tomb.

According to another and ancient tradition, sepulchres were brought with seeds of  chickpea, wheat, barley or lentils: they symbolized the close connection between the rural world and the Holy Week.


Good Friday (March 25)

It is the day of Christ’s Passion. In all Elba’s churches, it is remembered with readings, songs and the evening procession, during which the statue of Christ is carried through the streets of towns of Elba.

There is a specific procession which has a particular meaning: it takes place between Sant’Ilario and San Piero. Just before sunrise, the two processions depart from their respective countries and meet halfway.

The two processions are composed, in order, by the standard of confraternity, the calvary cross and other smaller crosses. The cross of calvary brings all the symbols of Christ’s Passion: the veil of Veronica, the palm, the spear, the rooster and the bloody hand.


Easter (March 27)

Easter Sunday is celebrated by mixing sacred and profane: in the morning, people listen to Mass; at lunch, on Elba tables never lack typical Easter cakes.


Image source: Di it:utente:formica rufa – it:File:Propositura della Natività di Maria.jpg, CC0

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