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Feasts of S. Alfio Cirino, Filadelfo

The three brothers Saints Alfio, Cirino, & Filadelfo born of a noble family, in consequence of the persecutions against the Christians, are transferred to Sicily in the year 250 A.D. where they were subject to all kinds of torture, where they however continued to perform conversions and miracles. During their transfer to Lentini, tradition says they passed through Trecastagni. This belief is remembered to this day with the feast in honour of the three Saints that is celebrated in Trecastagni in the month of May. It is a considerable religious event and the acts of devotion are innumerable. In the days preceding the feast, barefooted devotees carry large wax candles to the Sanctuary as offerings to the Saints. From a folkloristic point of view the feast has also remarkable importance. In fact, the whole town is transformed into a phantasmagoria of lights and colours, with hundreds of stalls open all along the main roads.

Sicilian songsters the feast of s.Alfio in the 40's

Feasts of S. Agata
Another very important folkloristic but above all religious event is the feast of Sant’Agata, the patron saint of Catania, which is held in Catania from the 3 – 5 February. Agata was born in Catania in the third century A.D. of a noble family. She received an education based on the principles of Christianity. At fifteen years decided to donate her life to the Lord and from that moment was obligated to wear the red veil of the consecrated virgins. Quiziano the Roman proconsul in Catania received news about the existence of this attractive child, and tried to win her favour with flattery of every possible type, this was however met with decisive firmness.
The devotees pulling the saint's carriage - the senate carriage

Agata replied, saying she was devoted to Christ. He then tried to plagiarize her in every possible way, but faced with her determination and refusal. Ordered her martyrdom, after tremendous torture the final act was the amputation of her breasts. But her faith did not collapse; in fact she received a miracle and her wounds healed instantly. Quiziano then faced with this prodigy realized that if the facts were made known, this would have brought new proselytes to Christianity, and therefore ordered her death.

The feast:

In the days preceding the 3rd of February the “Candelore” are taken around the city. These are baroque shaped wooden altars that represent the various trades and professions. The members of the various categories fishmongers, grocers, butchers etc carry the altars on their shoulders for devotion and perform a sort of dance with this huge weight called the “annacata”. The devotion to the Saint is enormous and the phenomenon almost reaches levels of fanaticism.

The senate carriage - the devotees pulling the saint's carriage - the procession on the fifth day

The devotees that must dissolve a vow wear a white habit with a cord around the waist and a black velvet scull cap on their heads. This apparel is worn to remember the episode of the miraculous interruption of the lava flow that the saint’s presence produced during the night, and represents the nightgown worn at the time. These devotees are called “cittadini” (townspeople) and an incredible number of them pull the “fercolo” (silver carriage) with the bust and the reliquary of the Saint through the streets of the city.

the 3rd of February
The offering of wax on behalf of the authorities travelling aboard the antique “Senate Carriage” in grand style to the Church of S. Biagio and from there a solemn procession towards the cathedral.

The 4th of February
At five o’clock in the morning the cathedral doors are opened and an enormous amount of people pour in to assist the extraction of the bust and the reliquary from the crypt. This is a very touching moment because during the ceremony the Saint is invoked with incredible emotion. A solemn pontifical celebration takes place, and then the “fercolo” leaves the cathedral to begin its external tour of the city, which is an extended itinerary of the city. It’s very difficult to say how many people follow the Saint, such a multitude is beyond imagination, and along the route the balconies are illuminated and adorned with flowers. Various stops are made for firework displays that are a phantasmagoria and certainly noisier every year. The procession is articulated under a succession of illuminated arches that transform night into day. The procession terminates around midnight and the Saint is returned to the cathedral. The next day at about 18:00 the internal tour of the city commences. It proceeds along via Etnea, which is the principal road that runs through the entire centre of the city. When the Saint is positioned outside the cathedral you have the first taste of the many firework displays that will continue during the course of the long night. The slow procession resumes following the same procedure as the previous day, and an infinite crowd follow the Saint with their incessant offerings of wax. All along the route you are accompanied by the intense perfume of torrone that is prepared here and there on the stalls where you can also find the classic sweets of the feast called “Olivette of Sant’Agata”. The balconies of the buildings are illuminated and full of people waiting for the procession to pass, ready then to consume the lavish suppers that are prepared for the occasion. It is impossible to describe the atmosphere. It is an event of such importance from a religious and folkloristic viewpoint that it surely has few equals in the world. It would not be wrong to compare the participation and devotion to that of the holy week in Seville. The procession terminates late morning after the somewhat dangerous but very striking climb of via San Giuliano where devotees have been frequently injured. Every year the feast ends later than the year before, because the townspeople are very fond of the Saint and want to have her with them as long as possible, then with great reluctance they detach themselves until the following year.










    "The village of Trecastagni is
    the ideal starting point that
    will let you savour the
    beauties of the eastern sicily

Ralph Giordano


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Le strutture ricettive dell'associazione sono regolarmente autorizzate dall'APT di Catania e dal Comune di Trecastagni
secondo la normativa di legge vigente.

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