I’m going to keep this post short and sweet. As you all might know, this past Sunday was Easter. Easter at my house is not usually a huge event, but always a family affair. I have spent the last few Easters away from home, but I was curious to see how Easter in a foreign country would feel. After having experienced this past weekend, I can say that it was awesome.
The entire day felt like a continuous celebration, which, according to the Christian tradition, is what Easter is supposed to feel like. One of my favorite things about college in general is that you are immersed in an environment with lots of different types of people, people coming from all walks of life and various different faiths. Part of what I love about being in this environment is that it challenges you not only to hear from others, but also to further develop your own personal beliefs. At the risk of getting too personal or breaking a code of political correctness, I will freely admit that I identify as Christian, so I was excited to celebrate the religious significance behind this holiday. In my time abroad, I have found that Rome has been a nurturing environment for my faith; I have been more free from the normal distractions of home, and more focused on continuing to develop my faith, which has been great.
So, Easter. I began the day by attending St. Paul’s Within the Walls, the first non- Catholic church to be built in Rome. The church itself is gorgeous, with beautiful mosaics and a newly renovated garden. During the church service, a true sense of community was reflected by the attendees, and there was even a moment where the Reverend was dancing while serving communion! All in all, a great time. On my walk home from the church service, I stopped in a little piazza near the Residence. Right in front of me, another church service was letting out. I stopped to take it all in: everyone was smiling, the pastor was greeting people and shaking hands, and you could hear echoes of “Buona Pasqua!” (which means “Happy Easter!”) on all sides. It was one of the moments where the sun is shining just right and the sky is so wonderfully blue, that you look around and realize absolutely nothing could be wrong. I know that when I look back on my time in Rome, that moment will be among one of my favorites.
The day continued with more celebrating. I had two different sets of friends visiting this past weekend, and I hadn’t seen one of these friends since high school, so the reunion was even more special. We made brunch in my kitchen, and later walked around the Vatican (which, by the way, was crowded but beautiful on Sunday!). Our day concluded with a potluck dinner in the rooftop garden of the Residence. This may have been the best thing, to see so many people gathered around one table, and everyone passing each dish around. And of course, we had plenty of cake and brownies for dessert! All in all, a perfect day.
As I reflect on what this Easter meant to me, I can safely say that I really felt the spirit of this holiday, in a more powerful and tangible way than I normally do in the U.S. On Easter, and the couple days leading up to Easter, every interaction I had with an Italian ended with “Buona Pasqua,” so it was so easy to see what this holiday means to Italian culture. Holidays away from home can feel weird, but it’s really all about what you make of them, and I can look back on this past Sunday fondly. Really and truly, a Buona Pasqua indeed.