Thursday, April 15

Six Easter-Inspired Italian Phrases Explained


Easter is a key event on the Italian calendar, usually marked by national holidays and events. Of course, this year’s lockout restrictions Avoid celebrations and it will become a much more reserved affair.

However, it is still allowed to visit friends and family, so here are some Easter sayings to show your language skills.

1. Family Christmas, Easter with whoever you want

This phrase is often used to explain where you should spend your key vacation. It means that you should spend Christmas as a family, but Easter can be celebrated with whoever you want. This is especially the case with Easter monday (“Little Easter”) or Easter Monday, which is usually a day to hang out with friends at a barbecue or a trip to the beach.

Easter is a time to hang out with friends and ditch family duties. In theory. Photo: Kimson Doan / Unsplash

That’s not allowed this year, so be prepared for more family meals. But let’s face it, it’s hard to turn down invitations from everyone in your family and this phrase may not get you out of another party, albeit quieter, this year.

READ ALSO: Traditional Italian Easter food that you can prepare at home during the confinement

2. Happy as a Passover

Here’s one of those phrases that doesn’t make sense if you translate it literally into English: “Happy as Easter.”

However, you can get the feeling that someone is really happy. You could translate it as “Happy as Larry”. Easter which means pure joy comes from marking the end of Lent. Fasting and repentance of sins are over; now is the time for joy, spring, travel and the brightest days to come.

READ ALSO: 12 signs you’ve cracked the Italian language

As happy as Easter. Photo: Annie Spratt / Unsplash

3. Long as a Lent

Speaking of Lent, this Italian expression describes a process that is long, boring, and seemingly endless.

It literally means “As long as Lent lasts,” which lasts 40 days before Easter and involves much prayer and the abandonment of vices.

You can probably see the similarity between this word and “quarantine“(Quarantine), which comes from the Italian word”Fourty” (Fourty). That was the number of days that people had to remain isolated in times of the Black Death.

40 days would feel like a long time on this diet. Photo: Kamil Szumotalski / Unsplash

READ ALSO: Top 10 Italian Words That Just Don’t Translate into English

Then you could say “The confinement lasts as long as Lent”, to describe the seemingly endless national restrictions. If only the measurements were the length of Lent.

4. When will Easter come on April 25?

Speaking of waiting for the impossible to happen, this phrase describes an extremely rare event, such as the English expression, “Pigs might fly.”

It literally means, “When Easter comes on April 25”. But what is significant about that date?

In the Gregorian calendar, this is the date that is least likely to be Easter and therefore denotes an unusual event. Legend has it that God promised the devil that he could enter paradise if Easter fell on April 25.

In fact, Italians divide Easter dates into three categories:

Low easter (Short Easter) – if Easter falls between March 22 and April 2
Average Easter (Middle Easter) – if Easter falls between April 3 and 13
High easter (High Easter): if Easter falls between April 14 and 25

When can we go out for a Appetizer with friends again? When Easter comes on April 25.

Eating another Italian lunch is a cross to bear. Photo: Aaron Burden / Unsplash

5. Carrying your own cross

If you really want to play the violin, you can use this Italian phrase which means “to carry one’s own cross”, just as Jesus is believed to have done at Easter. You could say in English that “we have a cross to bear.”

Therefore, we infer that someone is dealing with a lot of pain and going through difficult times if they use this phrase.

Brush off the cobwebs with a little “Easter cleaning.” Photo: Daniel Appen / Unsplash

6. Easter Cleaning

It is time to banish the monotonous and everything that no longer serves you, as this saying means, “The Easter cleaning”. Also often used is “Le pulizie di primavera”, which is closer to the English equivalent of “spring cleaning”.

Easter cleaning means new life, joy, leaving behind the gray of winter and welcoming the new colors of flowers. A saying goes “The blessed olive tree wants to find clean and clear”, which means, “The blessed olive tree wants to find things clean and clear.”

Great, now even the trees are judging you on your dirty badge.

Although cleaning is almost a national sport in Italy, this is a particular time for an even more meticulous wash: it is a representation of change and a transition from winter to spring.

READ ALSO: Easter is more than eggs: the delicious Italian alternatives to Easter chocolate

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