A gathering – and family Easter traditions

Gathering of Veneto market gardener families and friends
Yesterday, 23rd March 2024, over 50 people attended a gathering for Veneto market gardener families and friends at the Mater Christi parish hall, Seaton.

The image above is a view of the gathering.  In the foreground is Rinaldo Zamberlan and Dino Piovesan. Photo by Alex Bennett.

Group engaged in conversation at the gathering, 23 March 2024.

It was the first gathering since October 2022. We remembered people who had been involved with the project who had died since then: Mary Piovesan, Guido Rebuli, Johnny Marchioro and Lena Moscheni nee Rossetto and also Anna Maria Lucchesi nee Vettorello.

The focus of the afternoon was the celebration of two milestones that will occur in May this year – the 50th year of the establishment of the Veneto Club in Adelaide and the ten years of the Veneto market gardeners’ website. The significance of language in the Veneto identity was also a feature. Three guest speakers gave presentations.

Madeleine and Alessia in the Q and A session about her family’s involvement in the Veneto Club.



Michael Campbell presents information about the website.

Alessia Basso and Madeleine presented  a Q and A session about Alessia’s nonno, Francesco Battistello who had had a significant role in the establishment of the Veneto Club.




Michael Campbell who manages the website presented information about his role and ways to access the resources that are on the webpages.

Madeleine and Silvano Ballestrin discuss his presentation about language.



Silvano Ballestrin involved everyone in the fun of a language quiz and invited guests to identify the meaning of different words in Italian, Veneto language and Napoletano dialect.

The three different presentations provided an opportunity to share the ongoing story of migration and the history of the Veneto market gardener families at Lockleys and the wider group of Veneti in Adelaide.

Guests contributed plates of delicious food for afternoon tea and the time passed quickly as people renewed contact, exchanged family stories and met new people. All photos of the gathering were taken by Alex Bennett.

Easter traditions in families

 In their oral history interviews, people spoke about the celebration of Easter which was an important occasion and a reason for families to gather and share meals. Although customs might vary in families, the common theme was on the importance of generations spending time together, enjoying hospitality and great food.

The following selections of excerpts from interviews show ways that Easter was an important time in different families.

Oscar Mattiazzo OH 872/13, 13 April 2011

Oscar Mattiazzo, 90th birthday party., December 2013. Photo supplied by Christine Rebellato nee Mattiazzo.

Oscar, who was born in 1923, reached back to his childhood in Bigolino and remembered a special time when he was given a gift by his godfather and he linked that memory with Easter:

… when a friend of my father, who was my santolo, and he gave me … it’s like a cake, a round cake, you hang it around your neck or something – I can’t remember what they called it – and I thought I was king. [Laughter] I thought I was a king that day because that was during the, oh, it must have been Easter or something, something, some celebration like that, and that’s about the only thing that I remember, like getting the thing.


Santin family: Lui, Johnny, Sandra, Denise, Rosina nee Tonellato, Frogmore Road, 1962. Photo supplied by Sandra Conci nee Santin.

Denise Doyban nee Santin, OH 872/62, 8 December 2021
Denise shared a memory of the food that was made for Easter in her family and the kind of rituals that were involved when her mother used the outside kitchen:

…if you cooked at Easter, they cooked baccalà  … you couldn’t have that in the house and then they’d make their frittole or their crostoli. That was all made outside because there’s a lot of frying when they’re cooked – if they killed the pig and then they had all the meats to be cooked and everything was – And I think it was to alleviate a lot of cleaning inside and also the smell going through the house.


Adelina Mattiazzo, OH 82/58, 2 November 2018
Adelina was 23 years old when she married Pietro Mattiazzo in Ponzano Veneto in 1979. They raised their family there and Adelina’s parents, Armida and Augusto made several visits and Adelina and her family spent time in Adelaide. Adelina recalled the challenge of living so far away from her parents and spoke about the early years when phone calls were so expensive that they were only made on special occasions. In the following excerpt, Adelina outlines the emotional impact of making contact with her parents by phone:

Wedding, Adelina and Piero Mattiazzo with Augusto and Armida Mattiazzo, Ponzano Veneto, 22 September 1979.

Always by phone on Christmas Day and Easter day or else we used to write to each other. There it was it was hard because every time we spoke to each other … you’d hear the phone ring and you had to run to the toilet because you were so nervous, hearing their voice twice a year. And you could only speak a very short time, what? Ten minutes because it cost us, I remember it was like fifteen or sixteen million lire every minute. It was so expensive to talk to somebody on the phone. You’d just say, “Hello, how are you?” “How are the kids and this and that?” And then, you know, put the phone down.


Mel Recchi OH 872/31, 18 June 2014
Mel’s childhood memories of Easter and Christmas were of occasions of large extended family gatherings:

Oh, mainly Easter was very, very important and Christmas time … was always a big family get together. It wasn’t just Mum and Dad, and my sister and myself. It was nephews, nieces, anybody that was involved in the family always used to come around to Mum and Dad’s place because Dad agreed to bring quite a few people out from Italy even from Mum’s town, from San Giorgio La Molara …

Recchi family, Giovanni, Aida, Antonia, Mel, Adelaide c 1947. Photo supplied by Aida Valentin nee Recchi.

Angelo Piovesan, OH 872/66, 28 November 2022
Angelo spoke about a tradition in his family – Easter marked the time to make salami:

Piovesan family Mario. Vittoria, Renzo, Angelo holding John on his baptism day, 1964. Photo supplied by Angelo.

That was the Easter ritual. So, they would either purchase a pig from somebody, generally take it out to somebody’s farm to fatten it and cleaned it or feed it on grain for probably a month or so beforehand. And I can remember going out to Lino Tonellato’s land on Port Wakefield Road, and seeing that they used to keep an eye on it and then you’d go and shoot it and broil it … then you would pour boiling water over it to clean the skin off it. Gut it there, and then bring it home and then you would hang it up in the shed overnight. And then, all the salami makers would arrive at about 4:00 or 5:00 in the morning.


See also previous blogs about family Easter traditions:

  • Christine Rebellato nee Mattiazzo –  5 April 2020
  • Linda Zamperin nee Tonellato – 26 March 2023
  • Diana Panazzolo nee Santin – 23 September 2023

You can search for the blogs by entering the names into the ‘Search’ box in the top right-hand section of the web page.

Madeleine Regan
24 March 2024

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

error: Content is protected, please contact site owner for access