Easter in Puglia between traditions and gastronomy

At the end of the Lent, the Christian faith explodes in Puglia. Suggestions, traditions, faith with processions of the Mysteries, with bands to the sound of funeral marches. The mystery of the hooded faces, sounds, laments and religious songs surrounds the white cathedrals, the narrow cobbled streets, towers and fortifications. Long processions that unfold during the Holy Week; brotherhoods that give life to their manifestations wearing white caps, barefoot, cross the city streets.

Representation of the Passion of Christ

“I Perduni di Taranto” is one of the most historical scenic representations of the Passion awaiting the resurrection of Christ are the Lords of Taranto. With the characteristic prancing walk, they turn like ghosts for the city praying, bowing to each other if they meet, entering and leaving the churches, kneeling.

More or less similar is the procession of the Noicattaro Crucifers which, barefoot, with chains on their feet, drag a very heavy church cross into the church.

In the context of sacred celebrations must be included the living passions, true theatrical works, taken from the last hours of the life of Christ, which take place on Palm Sunday, in natural settings such as the ravines of Ginosa and Gravina in Puglia.

Or the Living Passion of Alberobello, scheduled on Good Friday, with over two hundred participants in “scene” between the olive groves and in the historic center of the country.

Another event full of emotion takes place in San Marco in Lamis (Foggia). The procession of Our Lady of Sorrows is accompanied by the famous “fracchie”, gigantic torches made from a large trunk wrapped in tons of pieces of wood, which burn along the path, dragged by weight, on wheels and with iron chains. The processions of some towns near Bari are also interesting: the Otto Santi (Ruvo di Puglia), della Pietà (Molfetta).

In all the villages sprout the characteristic Quarantane, the puppet of the wife of Carnival hanging on the streets, which blows up to indicate the end of Lent and the beginning of the party of Resurrection. Molfetta, among the many processions called the Mysteries, which alternate and intersect the night of Good Friday, the spectacle of music prevails: dozens of bands play funeral marches written especially for the occasion by ancient and less ancient master composers.

Culinary Traditions at Easter

Apart from the traditional lamb and the eggs, the traditional dishes reflect in particular the character of its inhabitants. Being a poor region, the “genius” of its inhabitants manifested itself in the use that could be made of the products that land and sea offered. Wheat, pasta, olives, vines, aromatic herbs, tomatoes, fish and seafood, almonds, often combined together, have given rise to the characteristic dishes that enrich gastronomy during the Easter period. These are foods that in most cases have a strong metaphorical value and that recall in the form or composition an important element of the symbolic imagery.

In Salento “cavatelli al vincotto” are made in brick-red color, this home-made pasta is made with boiling vincotto which evokes the blood of Christ that gathers from the cross, a dish that is consumed by devotion.

In Bari, in Molfetta, traditional dishes are based on fish along with the stuffed focaccia “u ‘calzòene” based on onion and cod or “u pizzaridd” sandwich stuffed with tuna, capers and extra virgin olive oil while on the Gargano, ” the paposcia ”of Vico del Gargano and the orecchiette with walnuts together with the orange salad, are the protagonists of the Gargano table.

The visit to one of the ancient ovens of Fasano is renowned, to watch live the preparation of the typical “fecazzachiàne”, the Easter focaccia prepared with the youngest and sweetest onions. And all  families participate in Canto all’uovo, the traditional serenade of Holy Saturday in the streets of Fasano, during which eggs are collected to prepare “Frittata”.