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Festa di Sant’Agata

February 8, 2016

La Festa di Sant’Agata, the celebration of Sant’Agata, Patron Saint of Catania, takes place each year from February 3rd to the 5th, in the City of Catania, Sicily. The Statue of The Saint is carried around the city, following specific traditional routes, which are the same year after year.  The man pulled vehicle, called ‘a vara” in Sicilian dialect, “fercolo” in Italian, carries the Statue of Sant’Agata throughout the city for three days and one long night.  The crowds gather around the “fercolo” and many devotees wearing the traditional white tunic, “u saccu di Sant’Agata”, are both “i portatori”, the pullers, as well as followers.  The thick ropes that pull the “fercolo”are just over 100 meters long.Viva S Agata Via Umberto Fercolo


Picture below portrays “i portatori” pulling the “fercolo” in Via Umberto on the afternoon of the 4th of February


Pulling the Fercolo in Via Umberto


People gather on rooftops and balconies to view the processionPeople watching from above and below


Three young devotees wearing “u saccu”Young devotees wearing the white tunic, taking a break.


Enormous candles are made for the occasion

One of hte enormous candles made for the occasion

Piazza Duomo – The Cathedral in backdrop with the symbol of Catania, the Elephant, “u liotru”.  In this picture, one can see the “Cerei”, “i cannaroli” in Sicilian, gathered around.  The cerei will tour the city for days on the occasion.  Each “cereo” is made by an association and the people of that association will carry the cereo on their shoulders for long, long hours.

Cerei starting to leave Piazza Duomo and start their run through the city which in this instance lasted from 5 pm to the next morning


“i portatori” pulling the “fercolo”IMG_0961

Two Carabinieri guarding the Statue of Sant’agata during Mass in the Cathedral


Mass on the 5th of FEbruary The Statue of S Agata is guarded by two CArabinieri in the Cathedral

Sant’Agata was born in the III Century A.C. and lived in Catania. At that time, the Romans ruled Catania and Procunsul Quinziano had been sent to enforce the Edict of Decius that dictated Christians renounce their Faith publicly or suffer severe consequences. Agata was a young Christian girl. After the pressures of renouncing her Faith, she refused and also resisted to the personal advances by Quinziano, who took a personal interest in the girl as stated in many sources on the topic. Consequently, Agata was tortured and died in her prison cell. Nowadays, many people make a vow to the Saint and promise to wear a white tunic during the celebrations of her Feast each year.  The tunic, called “u saccu” is worn by the devotees, both female as well as male and of all ages.




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