Every town and city in Italy has its own Saintly patron or protector which has its own dedicated festa or celebration during the year with associated religious processions and events.
In Sicily alone, there are three hundred and ninety town halls which means many different variations in Saint day celebrations.
Apart from the religious celebrations, the locals take pride in celebrating the grandness of their particular Saints’ miracles and the intimate connection with their particular town. The statues of each Saint are a work of art and the parades are filled with music, prayer and colour. The locals take their saints seriously and try to keep up the traditions.
Sicily’s nine major provincial capitals each have big celebrations practised uninterrupted for centuries, except for events like the world wars and the recent pandemic. This year as Italy begins to open up after Covid, many places will celebrate for the first time after a two year hiatus. This means a certain level of joy, happiness, and the locals will inject a raw intensity into the celebrations.
Even though Covid is not officially over, many Italian cities will be celebrating as if it is, so be sure to keep taking precautions and be fully vaccinated when you visit this year. Each festa is a significant event in a city’s calendar filled with markets, art exhibitions, food preparation, open-air events and epic fireworks.
Some towns have more than one Patron, which means several celebrations. At the same time, other cities whose Saints celebration happens in the dead of winter have also decided to have a summer version of the festa for visitors to experience.
Here is a list of the significant Patron Saint day celebrations of the main cities in Sicily (Agrigento, Caltanissetta, Catania, Enna, Messina, Palermo, Ragusa, Syracuse (Siracusa) and Trapani.
I’ve included an extra celebration at Cefalu, where the festivities feature the Saint’s statue being loaded on a boat. The Saint’s statues procession continues out into the sea, typical for many celebrations around the island, particularly in coastal towns.
Be sure to save and pin the infographic for your next trip to Sicily.