Religious festivals represent a large part of the traditional Italian heritage. Besides being an expression of faith that has been repeated every year for centuries, they are also events with a strong social meaning and belonging to the community.
Rome is the cradle of Christianity and it is therefore natural that some celebrations of the Lazio area are among the oldest and follow ancient rituals, which sometimes are grafted onto earlier Roman pagan traditions.
Among the most important religious holidays there are certainly those of Christmas and those that celebrate the Easter period. In all the Lazio towns the Good Friday Passion includes processions and masses but in some towns these are accompanied by historical re-enactments or processions of particular Religious Confraternities.
Certainly the most important procession is the Via Crucis at the Colosseum where the Pope participates directly and which is transmitted world-wide, but also the province reserves surprises especially in the villages with deeply felt religious traditions.
Many processions unite the figures of Jesus and of Mary of Sorrows for the death of her son, the pain of death and that of the loss of a child, with the songs of the Stabat Mater. The worship of Our Lady of Sorrows occurred first in the 12th century in Florence, and the first transcribed Stabat Mater is that of Jacopone da Todi, and spread rapidly, taking hold immediately in the various monastic orders and among the people.
In many places the Friday Passion is also the day to remember the seven sorrows of Mary – Prophecy of Elder Simeon on the Child Jesus, the flight into Egypt of the Holy Family, the loss of the Child Jesus in the Temple, the meeting of Mary and Jesus along the Via Crucis, Mary at the foot of the cross where Jesus is crucified, Mary receives in her arms the dead Jesus, Mary sees Jesus buried with processions where the reference to the number 7 is strong.
These strong emotions have given rise to celebrations all over the world that can last from a few days to a whole week: from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday.
Among the most special celebrations are those of Veroli in the province of Frosinone that begin with the visit to the Sepulchres, those of Tarquinia on Sunday and Orte on Good Friday in the province of Viterbo, of Contigliano in the province of Rieti, of Sezze in the province of Latina and of Cave in province of Rome.
The day after Easter, then, the Italian tradition involves outdoor picnics but in some towns this day takes on a particular meaning. Do not miss also two other events that take place on Easter Monday in Boville Ernica with the Monday of the Angel by Giotto and Castrocielo and Colle San Magno (also in Ciociaria) where we celebrate “The Kiss of the Madonnas”, and in Blera where we celebrate the patron.
Here is a list of our recommended best events of Easter Holy Week in Lazio: