Religious Celebrations

It is impossible to talk about all the celebrations: well known or unknown, characterized by century-long suggestions, religious solemnity or cultural previews, events that take place in Sicily throughout the year.

In springtime Sicily turns into a procession theatre, revealing the real meaning of Easter as moment of truth for the Pagan and Christian religions. Among these celebrations we must remind the Misteri of Trapani, but also the one of Marsala (Trapani) as well as the one of San Cataldo (Caltanisetta). The latter takes place on Ash Wednesday with the mystery of the Christ´s process and continues till the Maundy Thursday with the procession in which the Virgin Mary finds her son dead. On Holy Friday the Virgin Mary meets her senseless Son with the accompaniment of drums  and laments and afterwards the Scinnenza takes place (when Jesus´ body lays in the coffin). The Resurrection Sunday represents the triumph of Life over Death and it´s characterized by the presence of ten giants made of papier mache´ (I Sanpauluna)  personifying the apostles who escort Our Lady after she met her Son. The Maundy Thursday in Caltanissetta is full of atmosphere. The Vare, which is a cluster of papier mache´ statues showing the Passion of Christ, created almost in the end of the 19th century and were made by a well-known family of artisans. Not to miss the Easter show in Pietraperzia (Enna) called "Lu Signuri di li Fasci" where in the narrow streets a crowd holds an impressive pole up, wrapped in kilometres of white cloth. Besides these Easter celebrations in Sicily there are other festivities, like the celebration of St. Agata, the patron of Catania, taking place every year, in the baroque city, at the beginning of February and it ends with the procession of Candlemas. St. Lucia Celebration takes place in  Syracuse on December 13th, the day in which she had her eyes torn out. In her honour, a silver statue over 2 meters tall is supported along the procession from the Cathedral of Ortigia to the basilica "Santa Lucia al Sepolcro". San Calogero (Agrigento) is celebrated the first week of July. Noteworthy is also the tammurinata (Drum concert) of San Calo´. Other celebrations take place in the mountain area of Nebrodi, such as the one of St. Giuseppe (Capizzi, ME) and the one dedicated to the Patron St. Giacomo in July.


Theatrical Events and Music

Theatre and Music Events open the culture season in the beginning of May and they are part of the cultural Sicilian tradition. Among them we remember the classic performances of Siracusa, organized by the Dramma Antico Institute in the charming Greek temple, followed by a series of events like the International Young Classic Theatre Festival in Palazzolo Acreide. What is more we have to remember  the performances of the Teatro dei due Mari, classical performances that take place in theatres of TaorminaTindari (Messina), Segesta(Trapani), and the new circuit of Teatri di Pietra which, enliven these minor archaeological sites (Palazzolo Acreide, Morgantina and so on) during summer time. From May to September the Festival Orestiadi of Gibellina (Trapani) comprises poetry, theatre, folk music with a particular attention to the new cultural and artistic expressions in the Mediterranean. The TaoArte festival takes place every summer at the Greek temple of Taormina and lasts till the end of October. The Womad Festival created by Peter Gabriel is all about folk music and it´s a great opportunity for young artists to be known. Not to be missed is Morgana Festival (Palermo), a real representation of Sicilian Pupi. Opera, orchestral and contemporary music are celebrated inside the great Sicilian theatres. The Massimo as well as the Politeama, are very important theatres of Palermo, Catania has the Bellini theatre while Messina has the Vittorio Emanuele theatre. Over the last years new theatrical reviews have been established. An example is the Luglio Musicale in Trapani as well as the Etna Fest starting from Catania. In November in the beautiful Arab-Norman cathedral of Monreale takes place the so called Settimana di Musica Sacra (Holy Music Week).


Between Culture and Folklore

Even Sicilian carnival has to be considered as an interesting event, thank to artisans that put all their experience and efforts in order to realize allegorical carts. The most famous are the Carnival of Acireale (Catania), Sciacca (Agrigento) and Termini Imerese (Palermo) that thanks to the beauty of their carts and the participation of people can be compared to the popular carnivals of Viareggio and Putignano. The Almond Blossom Festival in Agrigento starts every year in February, and it´s a great feast that comprises parades, music and dances that made it an international folk event. The Danza del Taratatà in Casteltermini (Agrigento) is probably less known but it´s a great event too, with Arab influences in terms of rhythms, costumes and scenery. In the heart of the Madonie like Geraci Siculo (Palermo) or Giostra di Ventimiglia, in August we can attend medieval commemorations in which medieval costumes are worn, whereas in Caltagirone on July the 24th,  the splendid stairs of the baroque church of Santa Maria del Monte are illuminated and create such a great atmosphere. On the same day you can also experience and the so-called Infiorata (Flower carpet) along its narrow street, the same event takes place in Noto. A cultural event linked to Luigi Pirandello is held in its native town, Agrigento, the name of this event is Studi Pirallendiani. An important rendezvous connected to the world of cinema is held in Taormina, but also in Lipari for the ceremony of the award Efesto D´oro, this event takes place in June. In conclusion, as a symbol of the integration in the Mediterranean, we can refer ourselves to the San Vito lo Capo (Trapani) Cous Cous Festival, where chefs coming from all over the Mediterranean compete to chose the best cous cous of the year.


 Sport Events

Sea sport events that take place in Sicily have made sicilian history. It´s the case of the Targa Florio, the most ancient motor race on the road, played on the Madonie rocks, at the beginning of the century. Today the Targa Florio is also celebrated in the version of Historic Rally in the whole Sicily. Other events dedicated to motor sports, testify a rooted passion among them we have to remember: the climbing of Erice (Trapani), races in the motor race track of Pergusa (Enna) and the historical cup Città di Cefalù, still dedicated to Vincenzo Florio. From motors to the sea, the tropical setting of Palermo´s beach hosts the Windsurf World Festival on the Beach, played in the first half of May. Different events take place durind the festival, among them: beach volley sessions, sailing and last but not least night jazz concerts. Each summer the Settimana delle Attività Subacquee for lovers of the sea, diving, caves and depth takes place in Ustica (Palermo). The Concorso Ippico Internazionale Coppa degli Assi is played in the Parco della Favorita of Palermo, in September. Very important date for riders and lady riders coming from all over the world. Palermo, thanks to its climate, is also the place of Maratona promoted by the town council. Hundreds of athletes challenge themselves along the street of the centre of Palermo, the first Sunday of November.