Saint Aghata Festival: traditions and program
Saint Aghata festival in Catania
Saint Aghata festival is one of the most important religious festival in Sicily. Also, this is the most important religious feast in the city of Catania, ’cause Saint’Aghata is the city’s patron saint. In addition, Saint Aghata festival is the third festival for importance and prominence in the world, after Semana Santa in Siviglia and Perù’s Corpus Domini.
Saint Aghata festival results as asset Etno-Antropologic Patrimony of the humanity of the City of Catania in the world.
It takes place every year, from 3rd until 6th of February and August 17th.
In these days the traditional religious procession with the relics of St. Agatha takes place. Every year a lot of devouts, pilgrims but also tourists visit the feast in Catania.
Particularities of Saint Aghata festival:
- approximately one million people partecipates every year at this religious and folkloristic event;
- the procession of the Saint starts in the morning of 4th and ends the morning of 6th, while the the relics of Saint Aghata goes through the places of Agatha’s legend;
- the relics are contained in a silver casket and in a silver bust. Devout carry relics and bust on a carriage, named “fercolo” or “vara“;
- furthermore, during the procession of Saint Aghata festival, she is preceded from “candelore“, giant candles. Candelore are putted on artistica carriages and they are carried by devout. As a result of many years of tradition and history, in the 2018 there are 13 candelore;
- devout wear white sackcloth (called “sacco“), black beret and white gloves;
Saint’Aghata festival culinary traditions:
Especially relevant for those who love Sicilian food are sweets made during the city’s patron period. First of all “casatedde di Santaita“, they represents probably Aghata’a breast. These delicious sweets are related with the legend of the tortures of Agatha who were wrenched the breasts. Opposite, Olivette have a form of olive and it represent the ulivo’s tree that Aghata found to defend and to nourish herself during the martyrdom.
Highlights of Saint’Aghata festival program:
Saturday 3rd February, 8.00pm
Music and fireworks show at Duomo square.
Sunday and Monday 4-5 Feb:
- 6.00am at Cathedral Mass dawn, finally Agatha goes out and starts with devout the round along the city.
- In the afternoon, ascent of Cappucini (close to Stesicoro square).
- fireworks in Palestro square
- descent at Arches of Marina. In conclusion, Saint’Aghata comes back to the church.
Monday and Tuesday 5-6 Feb.:
- Mass at 5.00 pm. At the end, starting of the round along the city.
- Fireworks in Borgo square.
- ascent of San Giuliano street
- Song of Benedectine nuns.
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