Sicilian Festivals, Traditional Celebration and Events all year around
In an land with such rich and complex history as Sicily’s, the variety and number of cultural events and local traditional festivals is enormous. Whatever the seasons and everywhere in the island, there will always be something going on.
All towns and villages have its patron saint who is duly celebrated with processions through the streets, spectacular firework displays and plenty of traditional food and drink. Two of the most spectacular and important are in Palermo and Catania, dedicated to Santa Rosalia (U’ Fistinu every in the first half of July fro 3-5 days) and Sant’Agata (celebrated twice a year, first on 3rd – 5th February, to remember her martyrdom, and on 17th August, records the return of her mortal remains to the city from Constantinople in 1126) Both remembered with enormous celebrations and huge crowds coming from all over the world.
The Good Friday and Easter in Sicily “Venerdi’ Santo e la Pasqua”
Easter certainly is a great time to come to Sicily, here is where mother nature shows her first signs of Springtime or “Primavera”. Here pagan traditions religious festivities that have been incorporated to celebrate “the awakening of life ” both spiritual and physical.
“The masked processions on Good Friday” are certainly some of the most moving expressions of Sicilian religious culture, and can be seen in towns, city boroughs, large and small villages, all over in Sicily.
One of the most picturesque is the “ Processione dei Misteri” of Trapani”, in which twenty wooden sculptures are carried through the town.
Very unique are the “Ballo dei Diavoli” at Prizzi (PA)
Man can not live on religion alone, however, and even the most revered saint may be forgotten when a Sicilian’s stomach begins to rumble. As a result God Food is celebrated with earnest devotion, and most small towns and villages in the hinterland spend a few days every year celebrating the fruits of their agricultural labours, whether it be artichokes in Cerda, pistachios in Bronte, Slow Food capers in Salina, cous cous in San Vito Lo Capo or sausages in Caccamo. These sagre – food festivals – offer an excellent excuse to visit places you might otherwise have neglected while having an excellent meal at the same time!
While most Sicilian towns can claim a patron saint or a gastronomic speciality others prefer to celebrate their uniqueness in other ways. Piazza Armerina, for example, celebrates its history with a Norman-Arab jousting tournament, Caltagirone annually illuminates the 142 ceramic-tiled steps of the Scala di Santa Maria del Monte, Sciacca, Acireale and other towns launch themselves into a good old pagan carnevale, San Vito Lo Capo puts on a kite festival, while Noto invites artists to cover one of its streets with petal mosaics – the Infiorata.
Culture with a capital C is also wonderfully varied and includes international opera seasons at the Teatro Massimo in Palermo and the Teatro Massimo Bellini in Catania, Greek theatre festivals and other events in the original theatres of Syracuse, Segesta and Tindari, and a WOMAD festival in Taormina.
So, if you really want to get under Sicily’s skin and learn what makes its people tick, just turn up to one of these events (or one of the hundreds we haven’t had space to mention here) and let yourself be swept along by the passion, the sense of fun and the hospitality of your fellow revellers.