Almost everyone knows that, for Christians, Easter represents the celebration of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. But not everyone knows that this event is based on pagan traditions that were adapted by Christianity. The date of Easter was used to celebrate the vernal equinox, the rebirth of life after the rigid winter. The English word Easter (Pasqua in Italian) comes from the pagan goddess “Eostre”. The rituals in the name of this goddess are centred on rebirth, represented by the egg, universal symbol of life (hence Easter eggs) and fertility, represented by the rabbit (hence the Easter bunny). Easter in the world (link):
In England the Catholic tradition is to meet on a hill at sunrise to hold a mass service. This tradition is called Sunrise Service. Another particular tradition is the “rolling egg” competition, which consists in rolling eggs down the hills. The winner is the one who first reaches the bottom of the hill (the egg must be intact). In Spain during the Easter period, the tradition is to hang “palmons” from doors and windows to protect the house from witches and evil spirits. It is also a habit to eat “mona”, an Easter cake decorated with chocolate eggs which is traditionally given to one's godson from his godfather.
In Greece on Easter night bells ring, the faithful go to church (the service is held in the dark) and light the candle which they bring with them, and which they will take back home to celebrate the Rebirth of God who brings light. In Russia on Easter morning the families go to the grave of a loved one where they will hold a picnic. At night there is a banquet with different types of meat, fish and mushrooms. The hard boiled eggs are painted red to represent new life obtained through the sacrifice of Christ. In France church bells do not ring from Friday until Easter Sunday, as a sign of mourning for the Crucified Christ. To justify the silence, the children are told that the bells have flown to Rome.
Nordic countries welcome Easter by also celebrating the arrival of spring. In Sweden and in Finland, white poplar branches with buds are blessed on Palm Sunday. The week before Easter, children carry out a ritual of medieval origins: they dress like witches and hand out their letters in exchange for candy. A characteristic Easter dish in Finland is the "Pasha" with cheese, and the "Mammi", a rye pudding. In Sweden they eat coloured hard boiled eggs. In Denmark homes are decorated with blooming branches and coloured eggs, and on Easter Sunday the entire family gathers together for a cold buffet, and the children receive a chocolate rabbit.
In Israel two events are celebrated: the Christian Easter and the Jewish feast of the "Passah". During holy week there are processions passing through the stations of the Via Crucis (Stations of the Cross). The Jewish feast of the "Passah" begins on Thursday before Easter and is meant to remind of the exodus of Jews from Egypt, for seven days.
Reopening of the Cavallino Matto - the largest amusement park in tuscany.
Cavallino Matto, the largest amusement park in Tuscany, is reopening with new initiatives. “The Wonders of Nature” is a programme of theoretic and practical activities of Permanent Environmental Education and Naturalistic Botanic Path for first grade primary and secondary schools. For the year 2011 the Cavallino Matto Amusement Park has set a challenging goal: helping the men and women of tomorrow to grow with an always greater awareness and attention towards nature around them. After having accompanied generations of boys and girls in fun and carefree activities by offering them unforgettable moments of entertainment, the Park means to use the wonderful and uncontaminated nature surrounding it as a must-see stop for “educational field trips” for all of Tuscany. Learning has never been so fun!
HOTEL MARINETTA PROPOSES STAYS WITH FREE ENTRY IN THE AMUSEMENT PARK. Click here to find out about our offers:
"Vendemmia d'artista" ("artist's harvest") the Ornellaia estate becomes a museum
Rebecca Horn will be the star of "Ornellaia 2008 - Vendemmia d'Artista: l'Energia" (Artist's Harvest: Energy). The famous German artist was called to interpret the character of one of the most appreciated Italian wines in the world, for the project that for three years has been giving a voice to the great names of contemporary art in order to raise funds for the preservation of works of art worldwide. Now in its third edition, Vendemmia d'Artista (Artist's Harvest) has transformed the Bolgheri Estate into an actual museum.
"The Vendemmia d'Artista (Artist's Harvest) project means to retrieve tradition and the value of Renaissance commissions in a contemporary viewpoint - says Giovanni Geddes, AD of the Ornellaia Estate – every year we commission a great artist with the task of creating a work of art that may capture the essence of the wine, the individuality of the vintage year and its specific personality".
"Wine, like people, is distinguished by its originality, and every grape harvest is able to transmit a character that makes it unique. Within the distinct Ornellaia style, we work exactly to find, bring out and consolidate the distinctive trait of the vintage year – these are the words of Axel Heinz, wine expert of the Ornellaia Estate – Ornellaia 2008 holds within itself the Energy that our land gives to our wine. Light, heat and passion have transformed in aromatic complexity, tannin structure and great longevity".
Among the most celebrated contemporary artists, German artist Rebecca Horn is noted exactly for her creative flair: sculptures, writing and cinema, with surprising performances that capture one's attention because of their originality. For L'Energia di Ornellaia (The Ornellaia Energy) 2008 Rebecca Horn has signed an installation which has been set up inside the Ornellaia barique cellar. The sculpture is made with copper weaves which envelop the entire space as would the arms of an oriental deity, and mirror effects that, like careful eyes, watch over the alchemy that sublimates the wine during its slumber.
The complex installation of the German artist is an addition to the works created for the previous editions of Vendemmia d'Artista (Artist's Harvest): the four fountain-sculptures by Luigi Ontani, created for the Ornellaia Esuberanza (Exuberance) 2006 and placed in the entrance of the estate itself, and the plant sculpture which Ghada Amer installed in the garden, with large letters that formed the phrase "Happily Ever After" created to celebrate the 2007 Ornellaia Armonia (Harmony). So with the third year of the Artist' Harvest project in the Ornellaia Estate it is possible to taste the allure of the locations and the taste of exceptional wines, while also contemplating the works of great contemporary artists. The Ornellaia Estate, truly a unique exhibit area, is open for guided tours from Mondays to Fridays (reservations can be made on the website), and hosted over 3600 guests in 2010.
For the third edition of the Vendemmia d'Artista, Rebecca Horn has also created a limited edition of special large size bottles for Ornellaia 2008, which will be up for bidding in Berlin on May 19th during a great charity auction led by Christiane Gräfin zu Rantzau, Deputy Chairman of Christie's Germany. They are 14 special large size bottles, one Salmanazar (9 litres), three Imperiali (6 litres) and ten Doppio Magnum (3 litres), made unique by the hands of the artist; offers for the bidding will also be made possible by registering on the website www.vendemmiadartista.it
The limited edition labels have are strongly related to the work in the Bolgheri cellar, the Doppio Magnum bottles are dressed by paper labels that recall the iconography of the sculpture, each made unique by a pictorial sign that extends from the label to the bottle glass, with symbols that recall whisks and reflections of light in metaphorical movement over the entire surface. The Imperiali are instead characterised by a copper wire that, reminding us of the sculpture in the barique cellar, envelops them like an embrace that, in the only copy of the Salmanazar bottle, becomes a weave of wires that reproduces the work of art itself. In this extremely limited edition, the bottles are thus transformed into actual works of art that suggest the alchemical energy element of the wine they contain. Each bottle is numbered individually and originally signed by the artist. The funds raised by the auction of these unique items will be entirely donated to the "Freunde der Nationalgalerie" Association in Berlin. Also thanks to the Vendemmia d'Artista, project, in the past years, the Ornellaia Estate has donated about 400 thousand Euros to art institutes and museums worldwide.
The Ornellaia grapes are hand selected and picked in the property's vineyards in Bolgheri, located on the Tuscan coast. The different nature of the soils of the estate – marine, alluvial and volcanic – is ideal for the cultivation of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. The Ornellaia wine was made for the first time in 1985 and has received vast recognition over the course of the years. Ornellaia 2004 was among the first ten wines of Wine Spectator's magazine Top 100 of 2007 and the 1998 vintage year was named Wine Spectator's "Wine of the Year 2001".