SICILIAN TRADITIONS - FEASTS, CARTS, PUPPETS AND FESTIVALS IN SICILY
PUBLIC HOLIDAYS IN ITALY
- January 1st (New Year’s Day)
- January 6th (Epiphany)
- The Day After Easter (Little Easter)
- April 25th (Liberation Day)
- May 1st (International Worker’s Day)
- June 2nd (Republic Day)
- July 15th (Saint Rosalia)
- August 15th (Mid-August Day)
- November 1st (All Saint’s Day)
- December 8th (Immaculate Conception)
- December 25th (Christmas)
- December 26th (St. Stephen’s Day)
FAMOUS NOT PUBLIC HOLIDAYS IN SICILY
- March 19th SAN GIUSEPPE, 19th of march
- July 15th (U fistinu, Santa Rosalia)
- November 2nd (The dead people day)
- December 13th SANTA LUCIA, ARANCINA DAY
FEASTS IN SICILY
Feasts represent one of the most important parts of Sicilian social life, mixing pagan myth, religious events and country fairs. The most celebrated feasts are Easter, Carnival, and the patron saints’ day.
Other events are:
- the Palio dei Normanni in Piazza Armerina (Enna province), which commemorates the arrival of Roger II;
- the Festival of Spiga in Gangi that goes back to ancient pagan rituals dedicated to the Goddess Cerere;
- the Festival del Mandorlo in Agrigento and the Sagra della Ricotta in Vizzini.
The main cities celebrate their patron saint with spectacular launches. Palermo celebrates Saint Rosalie for six days in September; Catania celebrates Saint Agata
THE PAINTED CARTS OF SICILY (CARRETTI)
They have been around for nearlythan two centuries. Once there were several thousands of them, carrying the products of the island and participating in its celebrations. The carts were fashioned from beautifully carved wood and intricately wrought metal. All visible parts were colorfully painted with religious, chivalric, historical, or other culturally symbolic designs and figures. They carried passengers, foodstuffs, wine barrels, minerals, and other cargo from place to place. Described as ungainly and awkward, they were pulled over less than satisfactory roads by horses, mules or donkeys decorated themselves in colorful harnesses and feathers.
The Sicilian Puppets Theater was defined "Masterpiece of the Oral Intangible Heritage of Humanity" by UNESCO. Sicilian puppets portray epic sagas, but scene dialogues are often improvised. Puppets (from the Latin pupus: little child) are the characteristic armored marionettes of the epic popular theater, brought probably from Spain of Don Quixote to Sicily, where it reached its full development. Italy boasts three main puppet schools, two of which are in Sicily: 1) Palermitan; 2) Catanese; and 3) Campanian. The puppets differ in their armor and dimensions. For example, Palermitan puppets are smaller and more mobile than the Catanese ones.
THE VILLAGE FESTIVALS
When there is delicious food, wherever there is party.
The village festival has always been a moment of amusement, of fun, or the occasion to say goodbye to the ending season, or even the opportunity to get engaged to someone.
Of course, it’s the time to eat and do business.
One of the most famous festivals is "La sagra del Mandorlo in Fiore" in Agrigento (in he picture) usually in the end of february/beginning of march
The spring festival season begins in April, when, at Monterosso Almo, is held the “Sagra ‘re Cavatieddi” (Gnocchi ‘s Festival).
The gnocchi are boiled and cooked into big cauldrons and traditionally seasoned with pork meat sauce.
On the first of May ends in Sampieri, sea hamlet of Scicli, the “Sagra del Pomodoro” (Tomato’s Festival). Nearly one week of feast, where every food specialty is obviously mainly made of tomato, a vegetable that is an actual symbol of the agricultural heritage of this land.
At “ferragosto” (15th August) there is the “Sagra della Cipolla” (Onion’s Festival) in Giarratana, - renowned for the production of the delicious “white onion” - and in the nearby Monterosso.
Giarratana also harbors the “Sagra del Torrone Bianco” (the White Torrone’s Fiestival).
In this same period is held in Pozzallo the “Sagra del Pesce” (Fish’s Festival), cheered by music and theatre colorful performances.
The same Festival is held in Scoglitti, sea hamlet of Vittoria, with the addition of a further show: the “Re Cuccu”, a parade of masks and allegoric wagons accompanied by music and concerts.
Still in August, in Chiaramonte, there’s the “Sagra della Focaccia” (Focaccia’s Festival), prepared and offered in all ways.
In September at Pedalino, hamlet of Comiso, it’s time of the “Sagra dell’Uva” (Grape’s Festival), where people can taste the excellent local wines and grapes, served into typical gaskets made of twisted canes.
The “Sagra del Pane” (Bread’s Festival), held in Autumn at Monterosso Almo, celebrates the bread, seasoned with olive oil, oregano, cheese and dried tomatoes, the typical ‘ciappi. and accompanied by local red wines.
Singular and worth mentioning are the “Cene di San Giuseppe” (Saint Joseph Suppers), held in Santa Croce Camerina on March 19th.
On this occasion, tables plenty of local food specialties are prepared for three personages representing the Virgin Mary, St. Joseph and the Holy Child.
The major specialty is the bread, worked and embroidered with the images of the story of the “holy joiner, St. Joseph.
Real pieces of art, which, along with the other rich dishes, are auctioned in the central Piazza, where the citizens and the foreign tourists “fight” to get them.
* Never put a new pair of shoes on the kitchen table
* Put brand new shiny coins on the window sill before midnight on New Year's Eve for good luck, place them heads up!
* Bury a mini plastic statuette of St. Joseph upside down on the front lawn if you want your house to sell
* Never give pearls as a present, they are to be inherited only
* The 'horns' is kind of similar to "I'm rubber, you're glue, whatever you say bounces off me and sticks to you", so if you wish someone harm who wears this pagan jewelry symbol, it will return to you to haunt you
* When in dire need of prayers for the sick, dead or dying, go to church and light a candle