Thursday, March 23, 2006

In Rome, House Blessings for Easter

From A Young American in Rome:

I walked out of my apartment building this morning and noticed that an announcement was posted on the main door. I stared at it for a minute, trying to translate whether the building would be without hot water or have a temporary power outage.

None of that -- it was naming the date that a Catholic priest would be in the building to bless each residence with holy water for Easter. As I looked up and down the street, I saw that every door had the same sign posted. This caught me by surprise - I only know of priests coming to bless houses in exorcism horror movies!

Apparently, this is a ritual that was traditionally done on the eve of Easter. Homes are blessed by the parish priest in memory of the angel who signed door-posts with lamb's blood in Egypt. Although Easter is a ways away, I suppose Rome is just too big for the priests to hit every house the day before Easter.