The most beautiful parties of patron saints in Italy6 August 2018

The most beautiful parties of patron saints in Italy

When the astronomical calendar is marked by the feasts of the Patron Saints

Looking back over the millennial history of Italy we can touch the aggregating force of popular religiosity. Just think of the great monasteries, the shrines, the cities where the Saints lived and worked, where they are still today invoked as protectors and honored with grandiose celebrations. All cities, large and small, of our Peninsula are related to the traditional celebrations of their Patron Saints, dating back to ancient traditions, which take place annually with a particularly rich, emotional and engaging ritual, made of processions, choreography, music and songs, tipical desserts. The most spectacular and impressive, however, are held in central and southern Italy and take place with rituals that involve the city in preparation for almost the whole year.

Feast of Sant’Agata – 3/5 February

Venerated by Catholics and Orthodox, she is the Patron Saint of Catania. Virgin and martyr, she was seduced by the proconsul Quinziano but she did not give in and he tortured her until she tore her breasts with big pincers.

Catania reserves to its patroness, from 3 to 5 February, grandiose celebrations, where the devotional element is mixed with the folkloristic one. The city is crossed by a solemn and imposing procession, in which we bring the silver “fercolo” called “a vara”, inside which are kept the relics of the Saint, accompanied by eleven huge candlesticks, called “cannalore”, fanciful vertical sculptures in wood with compartments where the main episodes of the life of the Saint are carved. Considered among the three main Catholic festivals in the world due to the turnout, the feast of Sant’Agata has been included in the Val di Noto heritage system declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site: such celebrations are considere in fact an intangible anthropological asset.

The most beautiful parties of patron saints in Italy

Festa dei Ceri – May 15th

It takes place every year in Gubbio (Umbria) on the eve of the feast of the protector Sant’Ubaldo. The Ceri are three heavy wooden artefacts surmounted by the statues of Sant’Ubaldo (Patron Saint of bricklayers), of San Giorgio (protector of haberdashers) and of Sant’Antonio Abate (protector of donkeys and farmers). They are carried to shoulder and run through the streets of the city to the Basilica of Sant’Ubaldo, on the peak of Mount Ingino, by the “ceraioli”.

An evocative ceremonial precedes the race: in Piazza Grande, at noon, takes place the spectacular “rise” of the Ceri and their three turns of the square. After having carried out the “exhibition” through the streets of the city, they are deposited in via Savelli until the moment of the race. In the afternoon, the procession begins with a statue of St. Ubaldo from the Cathedral to the top of Via Dante, where the Bishop blesses the Ceri, who thus begin their journey through the main streets of the city. Back in Piazza Grande, they make another three laps and arrive at the Angel’s Gate where the ascent to Mount Ingino begins. The Ceri are deposited in the Basilica of Sant’Ubaldo, while the statuettes of the three saints are brought back to the city between songs and torchlight processions.

The most beautiful parties of patron saints in Italy

Feast of San Sebastiano – 10th August

The consecrated feast in “San Sebastiano”, patron and protector of the city of Syracuse, is held every year on January 20th at the historic center of Ortigia. The feast day, however, replies on August 10, with the same great devotion but with a public frame, spectacular and folklore nothing short of exceptional. This strategic day and month were chosen both because they gave certainty of ideal atmospheric conditions and because they coincided with the epilogue of the agricultural year, that is to say with the time of harvesting the grain and therefore alms and more conspicuous offers in the city and in the countryside.

The festivities see the evocative “sciuta” (the exit) of the Saint and the relic carried bare shoulder between the firing of the firecrackers and the launch of thousands of “nsareddi” (multicolored strips of paper 2 m long); at the sound of the bands, the two fercules are followed by women barefoot and by thousands of devotees, while babies and children are stripped and offered to the Saint. The summer festivities in honor of St. Sebastian last ten days, from 8 to 17 August.

The most beautiful parties of patron saints in Italy

Feast of Santa Rosa – 3 September

On the 3rd of September in Viterbo there is the feast of Santa Rosa. Transport of the Santa Rosa Machine is the festival of Viterbo par excellence, dedicated to the patron Saint Rosa, lived in the thirteenth century, whose memory is evoked by the Viterbo through a unique event in the world, exciting, almost indescribable for its beauty, spectacularity and emotion.

The Santa Rosa machine consists of a tower lit by torches and electric lights, made of light metals and modern materials such as fiberglass (which have replaced iron, wood and papier-mâché for several years), about thirty meters tall and heavy five tons, which on the evening of September 3 is lifted and carried on the shoulder by a hundred robust men called “Facchini” along a path of just over a kilometer divided into streets, sometimes very narrow and squares of the city center, between wings of adoring crowd with the soul suspended between emotion, joy and even a certain fear.

The most beautiful parties of patron saints in Italy

Feast of San Gennaro – 19 September

On September 19th the feast of his protector and Saint Patron Saint Gennaro is celebrated in Naples, which culminates with the ” miracle ” of liquefaction: the blood of the martyr – collected after his beheading in 305 AD. from a woman and kept in two ampoules – is exposed to the public by the Cardinal and his liquefaction is greeted by applause and thanksgiving prayers.

The announcement is made to the city with 21 cannon shots fired from Castel dell’Ovo. The missed miracle is considered bad luck. Certainly one of the most intense moments of the celebration is the expectation of the dissolution of the blood during which the devotees gathered in the cathedral near the altar invoke the ” miracle ” with prayers, supplications and litanies in Neapolitan.


The most beautiful parties of patron saints in Italy