Elba has always been a treasure trove of fascinating stories and traditions and the one we will talk about in this article is one of the most romantic on our island.
We are in the years when it took very little to ruin the reputation of a family. A boy and a girl exchange fleeting glances and barely hinted smiles, always without being noticed by curious glances because the village is small and every news, which changes from mouth to mouth, flies as fast as the wind. How to talk to each other in daylight without causing scandal? To do things properly on the Island of Elba, one option was to wait for Palm Sunday. On this day the boy in love prepared (or, rather, the women of the house prepared it for him) the Ceremito, a “masculine” dessert that he placed on a wicker basket full of flowers in order to give it to the girl of his wishes. If the interest was paid, on Easter day the girl would prepare the Sportella, (the feminine dessert), tie a bow on it and have it blessed by the priest, and then give it to the lucky suitor.
Once the love ritual was completed, the two young, on Easter Monday, were allowed to meet in the ancient Hermitage of Santa Caterina (which now houses the famous Orto dei Semplici), to spend some time together eating the sweets they had previously exchanged. Who knows how many young people have waited for Easter to declare themselves … It is truly fortunate that these customs have been handed down to the present day: as a demonstration of this we have “La Sagra della Sportella” a festival much appreciated by all the inhabitants of the Island of Elba, who to celebrate the historic recipe of Ceremito and Sportella and thus safeguard its ancient tradition, every year, on Easter Monday, meet at the Hermitage of Santa Caterina to eat Sportelle and Ceremiti and spend a day at the open air in one of the most fascinating places on our island.
But if the girl was not interested in the young man, what happened? Have you asked yourself? It seems that absolutely nothing would happen to the damsel, but the poor unfortunate young man certainly got a frenzy of blows from his parents!