Easter in South Tyrol
At Easter in South Tyrol Germanic and Italian traditions mix together: from the Easter Bunny who hides the coloured eggs to the Visitatio sepulchri
In South Tyrol, borderland between Italy and Austria, various traditions and custom mix together also at Easter. The Holy Week is marked by family and community activities and moments.
In the towns of the surroundings on green Thursday, that is the Maundy Thursday, children and adults decorate hard-boiled eggs, that is a Germanic custom. The shell is dyed with natural colours obtained from beetroot, onion-skin or from spinach. When the eggs are ready they are put in a basket with ham, sweets and other food specialties and then taken to church for the blessing.
On Good Friday, as well as in whole Italy, believers go to church for the Visitatio sepulchri. The tradition of preparing the churches to welcome the believers dates back to Middle Ages and in South Tyrol the altars are decorated also with lights and candles. In particular, in Luson they hang 100 shining glass balls.
Lastly, at Easter after Mass the eggs are hidden by the Easter Bunny in houses and gardens and then children have to find them and challenge each other to the traditional Hecken, Osterpecken or Preisguffen, a match in which you try to break your opponent’s egg to win it as a trophy. Then the eggs are taken to lunch that by tradition should include speck and freshly baked ham with a side of asparagus, Bozner Sauce and cren, that is horseradish.
One of the traditional specialties is Fochaz, that is an anise-flavoured sweet bread in the shape of a hen or of a rabbit, that is often decorated with a star and that can be home-made or bought. Usually, the godfather and the godmother give the children this bread with a small gift.