This year, Good Friday falls on Apr. 15, and Easter Sunday, of course, is two days later, on Apr. 17.
Kids across the city will celebrate Easter Sunday morning with baskets of candy, chocolate bunnies and Easter egg hunts.
Others take their culinary traditions one step further. Born in Rome, Barbara Lee grew up in Calgary but moved back to Rome for 30 years
and only returned to Calgary in 2021. Now she and her family own and operate Italiano Please!, a Roman takeaway and catering business here.
Lee says that for her family, the Italian Easter feast starts at breakfast on Easter Sunday with hardboiled eggs, corallina salami (a Roman speciality) and pizza al formaggio. “It translates as cheese pizza, but it’s more like a Christmas panettone but with pecorino cheese and no fruit,” she says.
Lunch is the biggest meal of the day. “A nice lasagna would be a good place to start, or maybe some fettuccini, if you have someone who makes it by hand,” says Lee. Then, following the pasta, there’s a meat course. “It’s either lamb or baby goat — unfortunately for them but lucky for us. It’s almost always roasted in the oven with potatoes.”
Seasonality is key, she says, adding that artichokes and asparagus are both in season around this time in Rome, so often show up on the table.
And a stew made with offal, artichokes, a bit of tomato sauce and chili is also common. “Between your pasta and your second course, you’d have a few spoonfuls with good bread,” she says.
And of course, there’s dessert. These days, an Italian favourite is colomba di pasqua, a dove-shaped sweet bread from Milan that’s a bit like panettone and can be found in Italian grocery stores in Calgary this time of year.
Not surprisingly, after a day of feasting, her family doesn’t eat a lot at night on Easter Sunday; they simply reheat whatever is left from the afternoon if they’re still hungry.
But the culinary traditions continue Easter Monday, “Pasquetta,” Lee notes, when much of Rome will pack a picnic and get outside. “Maybe you’ll make a frittata, cut into wedges, some nice bread and some of the hardboiled eggs,” Lee says. Her family also loves casatiello, a meat- and cheese-stuffed bread that they’ll make for Calgarians at Italiano Please! this year, too.
What’s most important, however, is to get outside with friends and family. “We have a lot of fun,” she says. “Rome has huge parks, so there’s tons of space to
get out and have a nice picnic.”