Easter rites and traditions on the Amalfi Coast

The Easter period on the Amalfi Coast, as in the rest of Italy, brings with it traditions and customs in which religion and folklore merge. These rites transmitted from one generation to another, which have been repeated for centuries, take to the heart of those who have always known them and immediately captivate those who have never participated in them.

An ancient tradition, now almost forgotten, which is carried on in some coastal towns is that of “Lent Buttunata“. With rags and worn fabrics, a puppet is made in the shape of an elderly woman on which seven feathers of an old hen that no longer produces eggs are pinned. What are these pens for? To mark the “lean” period of Lent. The strange stuffed “old lady” is placed outside the homes and her feathers are removed and burned, one at a time, from Friday to Friday. Finally, on Good Friday the puppet is burned with the last remaining pen.

Another tradition rooted over time and common to many coastal towns is that of the “battenti” song. Men dressed in white and hooded accompany the religious processions and with their voices take charge of singing the torment for the death of the son of Our Lady of Sorrows. In each country this event takes on peculiar characteristics. And among all, Minori’s stands out. The procession takes place on Holy Thursday, after the Holy Mass in Coena Domini. The doors parade until late in the evening through the city streets singing their intense song, divided into two different tones, called ‘e vascie (below) and ncoppe (upstairs), a definition that arises from the presence of two brotherhoods formerly active on the territory, the first located in the lower part of the town, the other in the hilly area. The doors also parade at the first light of dawn on Good Friday.

Another characteristic element of Holy Week in Minori is the setting up of the “sawdust carpet” on the altar of the Reposition of the Basilica of Santa Trofimena. It is a true work of art created using only poor materials: sawdust and powdered pigments mixed together to obtain the various shades. The subject is taken from famous works of our historical and artistic heritage which portray scenes of the passion of Christ. In recent years the carpets have also been made in other churches in Minori.

Easter on the Amalfi Coast is also and above all linked to traditional recipes and dishes. On the Easter table, the classic “fellata” (the appetizer consisting of boiled eggs, sausages, cheeses, torteno, etc.), baked pasta and “menesta mmaretata” (based on vegetables and boiled meat) can never be missing. . But the main dish of the coastal tradition is undoubtedly the baked kid with new potatoes. All accompanied by seasonal vegetables. And finally the desserts: the inevitable pastiera, with the heady scent of cedar and orange blossom; and the sweet casatiello, made of light sponge cake glazed with sugar and tiny colored sugared almonds called “diavolilli”.