The traditional feast of Sant’Agata
The feast is the most important religious event for the inhabitants of Catania who take part to it with a great religious devotion, following the procession of the “Var” (which contains the body of the Saint), through various routes along the main streets of the city from the third to the fifth of February. The program of the celebrations develops anyway in the first two weeks of the month. The religious aspect of the party combines with the edonistic one: the procession.
Every year Catania, on the 3rd, 4th and 5th of February, offers to the Patron Saintsuch an extraordinary festival that can be compared only the holy week of or Se ville or the Corpus Domini of Cuzco, in Perù. In those three days everybody and everything is concentrated on this fest, a mixture of devotion and folklore that attracts millions of people, either devoted or tourist.
The first day is dedicated to the candles offer. The traditions suggests that candle has to be as tall or heavy as the person that is demanding protection. Two carriage of eighteenth century, property once of the old city government, and eleven “candelore“, big candles, in representation of each corporation, are walked in procession. That 4th it is the most exciting day, in fact it is the first day when the town “meets” the Patron Saint. Already at dawn time, the town is full of people. It is all the devote that are wearing the traditional “sacco“, a votive dress of white cloth, very long and tight up with a string.
The “giro“, the procession on this day lasts all day long. The statue is walked in procession through the places of the martyrdom and in this way the story of the “Santuzza” is interlaced with the town story. On the statue, red gillyflowers (martyrdom symbol) are replaced with white gillyflowers (purity symbol), on the 5 th. During the day in the cathedral the pontifical mass is celebrated. At sun set time, the statue is walked in procession again, going through the centre of Catania. The most beautiful moment is when the statues goes to through “via San Giuliano” that because of its slope is very dangerous .