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.

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The Harvest Festival of Raddusa at Raddusa (Province of Catania)

Surrounded by a golden sea of corn and warmed by the Sicilian sun, Raddusa, in the province of Catania, is the town of grain. This corner of the island seems timeless; its inhabitants live in the countryside and work the land, eating the fruits of their own labor. The Harvest Festival is very much a representation of Sicily and takes place on the second weekend of September. The event involves the whole town and intrigues the many tourists as well. The festival is a commemoration of the ancient crafts of Sicilian farmers during the 1950s. In the square of the Unknown Soldier some old crafts are demonstrated, such as: “u metiri,” (meaning “the harvest” in Sicilian) describing the process of cutting of the wheat using scythes that cut away the base of the grain; “a pisatura,” which is the separation of the wheat grain from the husk. This process is done by horses that use their hooves to trample the stalks of wheat guided by the farmer. There is a tasting of the baked bread and thecuccia”; the “mascacia” which is the technique used to shoe horses, and “mapstata du pani” – bread making. The whole country is decorated with ears of corn that adorn palaces, churches, plazas and main streets. Folk music and dance groups will accompany the three days of celebration.

Visit the Museum of Grain which exhibits the ancient tools of the traditional crafts of Sicily. Don’t leave without taking a jute bag full of seeds of wheat and some ears of wheat. According to the Sicilian tradition wheat represents fertility and good luck! Allura: bona furtuna a tutti!

Directions to Raddusa: (75 Km, 44,73 mi. from Catania):
From Catania: take the A9 highway CT-PA, Palermo direction, exit at Raddusa/Assoro

Etna Trasporti, Interbus

from #4 edited by Vanvakys
Related link:, Siciliana Cities and VillagesResources, Nature and Traditions


What: Franco Maresco 2010, documentary projection about the life of Tony Scott,Io sono Tony Scott, ovvero come l’Italia fece fuori il più grande clarinettista del jazz ,with English subtitles.
I am Tony Scott. The Story of How Italy Got Rid of the Greatest Jazz Clarinetist”
Where: at BMCC’s Theater 2 Scheduled time: at 6 PM.

info: The John D. Calandra Italian American Institute Queens College, CUNY

Tel: 212-642-2094 – Fax: 212.642.2030


Io sono Tony Scott,

I am Tony Scott. The Story of How Italy Got Rid of the Greatest Jazz Clarinetist”

Tony Scott (Anthony Joseph Sciacca, June 17, 1921 – March 28, 2007) was a jazz clarinetist known for an interest in folk music around the world. Born in Morristown, New Jersey, Scott’s parents emigrated from Sicily at the turn of the century. His mother played violin, his father guitar, and by age 12, Scott began studying clarinet, influenced by the sounds of Clarence Hutchenrider, Benny Goodman, and Artie Shaw. Scott attended Juilliard School from 1940 to 1942, receiving instruction in clarinet, piano, and composition, and building a strong background in classical music. Drafted into the United States Army in 1942, he was stationed at Governor’s Island in New York harbor and spent his spare time immersed in the jazz scene on 52nd Street

In the 1950s he worked with Sarah Vaughan and Billie Holiday. He also had a young Bill Evans as a side-man. In the late 1950s, he won the Down Beat Critics poll for clarinetist in 1955, 1957, 1958, and 1959.

He settled in Italy in the 1980s, working with Italian jazz musicians such as Franco D’Andrea and Romano Mussolini. In later years he began showing an interest in Electronica and in 2002 his Hare Krishna was remixed by King Britt as a contribution to Verve Remixed. In 2010, Italian director Franco Maresco released his documentary about the life of Tony Scott, Io sono Tony Scott, ovvero come l’Italia fece fuori il più grande clarinettista del jazz “I am Tony Scott. The Story of How Italy Got Rid of the Greatest Jazz Clarinetist” (with English subtitles).

Source : and

Related links SicilyArt.comSciacca

Jiménez Deredia / Trapani – Segesta

Costa Rican sculptor Jiménez Deredia presents a cycle of monumental sculptures and works in white marble on the historical-symbolic path leading to the Segesta Archaeological Park in Trapani, one of the most beautiful antique sites in the world.
A selection of the Latin American artist’s work can be seen at the Birgi Airport “Vincenzo Florio”, used for the first time as an exhibition venue for contemporary art, in Trapani’s Historical Centre with its Corso Vittorio Emanuele in front of the church Chiesa del Collegio dei Gesuiti (currently next to the High School “Leonardo Ximenes”) and the Piazza del Mercato del Pesce. A significant part of his artistic production will confront the fascinating religious venues of the archaeological site’s Agora – the largest in the Mediterranean -, the Theatre and the Doric Temple in Segesta, thereby bridging the gap between past and present. Deredia presents for the first time his new work Armonia in white Carrara marble.