The Easter Rites in Salento
Easter in Salento is celebrated according to the ancient Easter rites. Usually the Holy Week begins on Wednesday with Via Crucis in the evening. Holy Thursday is celebrated by the Last Supper. And on Good Friday the procession of the dead Christ (when the Cross is carried by a woman who is accompanied by 12 apostles) takes place.
In Maglie and Lecce, there is the characteristic Fair of the Bells with Easter stands and markets on Friday before Palm Sunday (Domenica delle Palme). In Tuglie, Sannicola, Parabita, Alezio and Gallipoli the brotherhoods animate the Good Friday procession by carrying the statue of Jesus on the cross. There is a particularly interesting tradition de lu Santu Lazzaru, when different groups of singers play traditional folk music in exchange for food.
After the Easter Sunday mass in the morning, everybody has big family dinner at home or in the restaurant, and all children are presented big chocolate eggs.
Easter in Salento is very heartfelt, and all the towns of the province of Lecce celebrate the Resurrection in the traditional way passed on by the ancients.
The next day after Easter is called Pasquetta, which is a joyous recurrence, and in Salento people prepare traditional meals, and have dinner usually in the countryside or agricultural land, where they taste all the typical delicacies of their Terra (so called picnic:)). Pasquetta ends with a relaxing walk along the beach or in the most popular seaside resort towns such as Otranto, Gallipoli, Castro, Santa Cesarea Terme and Santa Maria di Leuca. And only in Lecce Pasquetta is celebrated on Tuesday, and it is called Lu Riu.