If you are in Sicily during the Holy Week, you cannot miss the Easter celebrations in Piana degli Albanesi!
Piana degli Albanesi is a town located 25 kilometers from the city of Palermo. It is an important town because it is the well-known center of the Albanian community in Sicily – called Hora and Arbëreshëvet in the ancient Albanian language “Arbëreshë”.
What is the Arbëreshë community?
The Arbëreshë community is a community originally from Albania that has settled in Sicily for more than 500 years ago. Over the centuries the inhabitants, thanks to their tenacity and their cultural, social and economic institutions, have kept their ethnic-linguistic and religious identity unaltered, jealously preserving their cultural roots.
The religious rite is Byzantine, which together with the language (Gluha Arbëreshë, Arbërishtja) and traditional clothes, constitute the most important trait of the Arbëreshe identity.
A unique Easter – Pashkët!
For this reason Easter (Pashkët) is certainly the most important religious function. It is a moment full of symbolism, it is one of the most pristine and ancient traditions.
Here religion, folklore and identity come together in this beautiful celebration!
The celebration of Piana degli Albanesi is distinguished by the typical traditional dress, rich in gold thread embroidery on precious fabrics. Dresses in red, green, black and gold. The dress is adorned with high jewelery accessories. All handmade by the skilled hands of the artisans.
The Religious Function
The celebration begins on Sunday morning with the mass at the Cathedral. Afterwards procession of women wearing the splendid traditional dress parades along the main street reaching the church of the Madonna Odigitria in the square where the Papàs (bishops) bless the red eggs. The religious function ends with the distribution of the eggs – this is called Bekimi.
Easter in Piana degli Albanesi is certainly an ancient tradition of the Greek-Byzantine rite and the Arbëreshë families of Piana degli Albanesi live it with passion and involvement.
It is an intense moment, full of emotion and emotion – which leads us to discover an ancient, authentic culture and tradition that is still alive and fervent in the local community!