Festa di Sant’Agata (3-5/02)- The Festival of Sant’Agata

Catania Holy Festival

Festa di Sant’Agata is a very important event in Sicily which is included in the UNESCO heritage list.

The Festa di Sant’Agata (Festival of Sant’Agata) is considered as one of the most popular holy festivities in Sicily that take place in February. The first day is completely dedicated to offering of 11 enormous decorated candles to the saint, which are carried through the streets along with a procession. The most exciting day of the festival is on February 4th as it marks the first meeting of the city with its loved Patron Saint. From the early hours of the morning, the streets are populated by citizens wearing the traditional “Sacco”, a black velvet hat and white gloves. The most important moment of the festival is the path to Via di San Giuliano, and due to its slope it is considered a very dangerous part of the procession. It is a test of courage for the citizens and is interpreted as a good or bad omen for the entire year. The next day, Sant’Agata greets the city before the end of the festivities; here thousands of people wearing white coats celebrate her, creating a unique and magic atmosphere.

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After the religious celebrations, locals prepare delicious sweets such as the popolar Calia and Simenza, made of dried chickpeas, yellow melon seeds and peanuts, and the Cassateddi and aliveti, typical desserts that represent parts of Sant’Agata’s tale. Due to these fascinating rituals in what is already a World Heritage Site, the Celebration of Sant’Agata was declared by UNESCO as an ethno-anthropological Heritage of Humanity.

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