A peaceful Easter is what I would like to wish the whole world, though a glance through this morning's papers would indicate that there is little hope of that, sadly.
I'm off to an Easter lunch with friends shortly and am taking along the traditional Colomba cake, made in the shape of a dove, symbolising peace. [Most people buy these, rather than making them.] The second picture shows a smaller, chocolate-covered version, for children. [I expect many of you will know this cake already; they are available in the UK now.]
It's a lovely day here and down in Modica Bassa the ceremony of the Madonna Vasa-Vasa is under way: This festa was introduced to Sicily by the Spaniards and dates back to about the year 1600. The statues of the Madonna and the risen Christ are taken separately out of the church of Santa Maria di Betlemme, the Madonna wearing a black cloak of mourning. She is carried all around the town for she is looking for her son. At midday all the bells ring, the statues meet, the Madonna loses her mourning cloak and the two are manipulated so that they kiss. This being Italy, a great deal of noise is made throughout the festa! In bygone days, mothers used, upon hearing the bells, to leave all their chores and scoop their babies into their arms. They would go outside, hold the children aloft and shout, "Crisci, crisci!" believing that this would make the children grow faster and ensure their health.
I do think that being able to find some joy in your religion is a great gift.