We’ve written before about the importance of Lent and Easter in Italian Culture — With nearly 90% of Italy’s population identifying as Catholic, the church calendar informs the rhythms of spring. As Easter and the spring harvest coincide, religious and culinary traditions overlap. This is especially apparent in the surplus of festivals throughout Italy this time of year.
If you’re spending Holy Week in Atlanta, the festivities are very different, but abundant nonetheless. Here are some activities to enjoy with family and friends this Good Friday and Holy Saturday, both in Italy and Atlanta.
Good Friday: Italy
One of the most popular traditions is the Dashing Madonna (or la Madonna che scappo) in Sulmona. About a two hour journey from Rome, this town in the Peligna valley is usually a destination for quiet reflection. With Holy Week festivities that date back to ancient times, their processions are a fit for any bucket list. Every Good Friday is marked with the Procession of the Dead Christ, a spectacular (if solemn) parade of hundreds of clergymen dressed in red, featuring a band, a choir, and “floats.”
Processions abound in Italy on Good Friday, but this one is especially notable because of its showstopping second act on Easter Sunday: the joyous celebration of the Virgin Mary finding her son alive, marking the Resurrection. Just watch the first few seconds of this YouTube clip. It’s dubbed in Italian, but you’ll get the gist. Release the doves!
Good Friday: Atlanta
Though it’s decidedly less ancient, Atlanta has a Protestant counterpart to Sulmona, Italy’s Good Friday events. At the Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre, you’ll find Passion City Church’s Good Friday Atlanta concert.
Billing itself as “a contemplation and celebration of the cross,” this contemporary service has its roots in the pageantry of the Dashing Madonna. Even the name “Passion City” is not too far a cry from “Passion Play,” which is what you call any of the traditional pageants representing the story of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. This year’s concert features the music of Louie Giglio, Crowder, Passion, Kari Jobe, and Cody Carnes.
Holy Saturday: Italy
The church calendar is pretty quiet on Holy Saturday: Good Friday events may have carried over into the wee hours of the morning, and Easter festivities start very early the next morning.
Holy Saturday is a federal holiday, and with spring in the air, an outdoor festival is just the ticket. The 62nd edition of the acclaimed craft festival ArtiEArti kicks off on April 15, 2017, in Southern Tuscany’s Montepulciano. Admission to this 10-day-long festival is free to both children and adults. If you’re in Italy, go enjoy the food and the art! This year’s theme is “Familiar Surroundings of the House.”
Holy Saturday: Atlanta
Just as the Good Friday Atlanta concert corresponds to Italy’s Good Friday processions, the counterpart to ArtiEArti can be found at the 2017 Atlanta Spring Wine Festival in the historic 4th Ward Park. Leave the kids at home for this 21-and-over event, which features music, beer, cider, and over 100 different wines to taste.
Tickets are $50 whether bought in advance or at the door. Admission includes a souvenir glass and all drink samples. (And all the bottled water you can drink!) You can purchase tickets at http://atlantawineparty.com/events/.
Wherever your Holy Week plans take you, from Atlanta to Italy, we hope you enjoy time off with the people you care about. And hey, we enjoy you! If you’d like to experience the seasonal tastes of Italy in Atlanta with us, please join us April 12 for our Donnafugata Wine Dinner. Seating is limited, and it will be both fun and delicious. Tickets are available here.
Upcoming Events at il Giallo Osteria & Bar
Wednesday, April 12th — Donnafugata Wine Dinner
Wednesday, May 10th — Mondavi Wine Dinner Fundraiser for No Kid Hungry/Chef’s Cycle
Every Friday – Awesome Buco Friday – Chef Jamie simmers just 10 Osso Buco in fresh herbs and spices for hours and serves them with saffron risotto. These melt in your mouth Osso Buco are available on a first come, first serve basis.
Visit the event links above, or www.ilgialloatl.com for additional information and to purchase tickets to the wine dinners.