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ITALIAN WORD OF THE DAY

Italian word of the day: ‘Pasquetta’

Happy 'little Easter'!

Italian word of the day: 'Pasquetta'
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

In Italy, Easter Monday is known as Pasquetta, literally ‘little Easter’.

You might hear some Catholics refer to it as il Lunedì dell’Angelo (‘Angel Monday’), in reference to the story the Gospels tell of an angel appearing to women gathered at Jesus’s grave and telling them He had risen. 

READ ALSO: Why is Good Friday not a holiday in Italy?

While it has less religious significance than Good Friday (il Venerdì santo) or Easter Sunday (la Domenica di Pasqua or simply Pasqua), unlike either of those holidays, Easter Monday earns Italians a day off.

Monday is Italy’s one public holiday over Easter, and with no particular religious ceremonies to attend, it’s typical for Italians to take a day trip to the countryside and enjoy the spring weather – at least in non-pandemic times. (Italy is currently in a lockdown making non-essential travel impossible: find the rules here.)

Cosa farete di bello a Pasquetta?
Got anything nice planned for Easter Monday?

Easter Monday also goes by another name: il Lunedi dell’Agnello or ‘Lamb Monday’, which gives a clue to the other highlight of the day – the lunch, which traditionally stars lamb. 

Romans typically prepare lamb soup or cook it in an egg and citrus sauce, southern Italians often put it in a stew, while elsewhere it will be roasted with garlic and rosemary – every family and restaurant has its own special recipe.

If you don’t eat animals – or at least, not the cute ones – Italy has a veggie option in the form of a cake baked in the shape of a sheep, which you can find in many bakeries at this time of year.

See our complete Word of the Day archive here.

Do you have a favourite Italian word you’d like us to feature? If so, please email us with your suggestion.

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ITALIAN WORD OF THE DAY

Italian word of the day: ‘Inciucio’

Here's a word you'll need to deal with ahead of Italy's elections.

Italian word of the day: 'Inciucio'

With two days to go until Sunday’s general election, there’s talk of a potential ’inciucio’ everywhere from the pages of newspapers to the heated conversations at sports bars up and down the country.

So what is an ‘inciucio’ and why does the word seem to be on everyone’s lips whenever Italy faces elections?

Briefly, ‘inciucio’ is political jargon that describes any type of dubious agreement or, if you will, compromise reached by two or more political parties generally holding opposite views and ideals.

There’s no direct translation into English, though a native speaker would probably refer to it as something of a dodgy backroom deal.

Non c’è una maggioranza chiara. 

Eh, figurati. Faranno il solito inciucio.

There isn’t a clear-cut majority.

Oh, that’s not new. They’ll go for the usual deal.

Such an agreement is usually necessary when forming a large coalition government, with terms largely assumed to be based on the “you scratch my back, I scratch yours” principle. 

READ ALSO: Salvini vs Meloni: Can Italy’s far-right rivals put differences aside?

With that definition in mind, it’s hard not to see why ‘inciucio’ is such a commonly-used word in Italy, a country whose political class has historically been partial to improbable alliances with their previously hated rivals. 

Cosa pensi delle prossime elezioni?

Preferisco non pensare. Ne ho avuto abbastanza di questi inciuci. 

What do you think of the next elections?

I’d rather not think. I’ve had enough of these political deals.

Purtroppo, con questa legge elettorale, l’inciucio tra partiti è l’unica via per avere un governo…

Fammi un piacere. Gli inciuci esistevano anche 60 anni fa, molto prima di questa legge elettorale.

Sadly, with the current electoral system, a compromise between different parties is the only way to form a new government.

Do me a favour. These types of agreements existed 60 years ago, well before the present electoral system.

While the noble art of the inciucio goes back a long way in the history of republican Italy, the term itself was only coined in 1995 by Massimo D’Alema, then secretary of the left-wing Democratic Party (PD). 

The expression only rose to popularity a couple of years later, when the founder of the term thought it fit to put the word to good use and reached a ‘non-aggression pact’ with the then-leaders of Italy’s right-wing coalition – the agreement went down in history as the patto della crostata or ‘pie pact’ – but we’ll keep that story for another time.

Ever since then, the term ‘inciucio’ has been regularly used by political commentators as well as the wider public to discuss the various power plays of the country’s major political forces.

For instance, the most classic of inciuci was at the foundation of Giuseppe Conte’s first cabinet back in 2018, when Matteo Salvini’s League and Luigi Di Maio’s Five-Star Movement unexpectedly found sufficient common ground to form a coalition government.

So, will we see another inciucio this time around?

Given the unpredictable nature of Italian politics, you’ll forgive us for not ruling out the possibility of another inciucio just yet.

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