Last Minute Easter in Sicily, The symbols of Easter

Offers Easter in Sicily, Easter holiday in Sicily.

First of all, a distinction has to be made between religious symbols and ones belonging to the folk tradition. The religious symbols par excellence are fire, the candle and water, which in the solemn vigil on Easter night occupy a dominant place in the liturgy. The symbolism of fire is evident: it represents the triumph of light over darkness, heat over cold, life over death. Fire nurtures the paschal candle, the symbol of risen Christ, the light of life, saving us from walking in darkness. Lastly, water, as a baptismal element, in what is the baptismal night par excellence, becomes a symbol of life, of passage from death to life.

Many Easter symbols in the folk tradition have pagan origins and involve pagan symbolism. First of all, there are chocolate eggs, a symbol of life beginning, of the passage from sleep to awakening, from winter to spring. The fact is that it was a pagan tradition to give eggs, as an augural sign, at the start of spring.

The rabbit too is part of the Easter symbolism. It is the symbol of Christ, for, being the “Son of man”, He has no lair, no place to rest. It is also a symbol of life being regenerated, since its cloak changes colours with the seasons.

Another Easter symbol is the dove, which in the episode of the universal flood described in Genesis went back to Noah holding in its beak an olive branch, a symbol of the peace brought by Jesus.

Palm leaves, dates, plants and cereals used as decorations and properties in Easter rites evidently signify rebirth and regeneration of life: the passage from winter, the season in which nature dies, to spring, in which vegetation and nature are reborn to new life. In the use of these symbols linked to nature there is also an augural meaning, the hope that the new season will be rich in fruits of the earth.

Another symbol linked to the rebirth of nature is the “Gardens of Adonis” (Adonis being the god that fecundates the earth with his seed), referred to as lavureddi, frail grain shoots, left to germinate in darkness, and used, in the typical Sicilian tradition, to decorate the Sepulchres set up in churches on the evening of Holy Thursday. The focal point of eucharistic devotion, together with the open tabernacle and the Eucharist on display, they symbolise the rite of the deposition of Christ and adoration and, immediately after the ceremony of washing of feet, they are visited by a very great number of devout people (the tradition requires that you visit at least three, or at all events an odd number).