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Events, Celebration, Feasts of Patrons,  Christmas and the Festivals in the south-east of Sicily.


Easter Celebration:

For Easter, the most intresting and celebrated events take place at Comiso, with "La Pace" (Peace) where carriage-borne simulacrum of the Risen Christ and the Virgin greet each other throughlt the day.

The same feast at Modica is Called "Vasa Vasa" (Kiss Kiss) where the Madonna with a black mourning mantle travels throught the town in search of her son and when she see him, looses the mourning mantle and goes to meet the resurrected son, bowing and kissing him.

The celebration in Sicili is called "Uomo Vivo" (the living man) where, after the religious celebration with the monstrance and banners, jubilant youths carry the statue of the resurrected Christ on their sholders throught the streets, lowering and raising it as the mood takes them.


Religious Celebration and Patron's Feasts:

Feast of Saint George in Ragusa Ibla

Ragusa is a peculiar city, where the continuous parochial squabbles led to the devolution of two patron saints, Saint George and Saint John. Nowaday the patron St. George is celebrated in ibla on the last sunday of may and during the celebrations, the Cathedral is decorated with banners, flowers, lights and damask panels. The festival begins one week earlier, when on the Saturday preceding the 23th April, before a huge celebrating crowd, the Simulacrum of St. Georges is taken down from the chapel, to be placed in the transept of the Church together with the reliquary urn, commonly called "Holy Chest", visited by many devotees and people who have received favours by intercession of the Patron Saint. The whole Ragusa Ibla is decorated with luminous arches, which remind us of the myrtle and sweet bay arches with which, during ancient times, squares and the most characteristic corners were embellished. When the statue passes by, people through downfrom their balconies rose petals as a sign of devotion and love towards the Saint knight. At alla times the so-called martyrdom of Saint George is carried out, a sort of figure procession abou the life and martyrdrom of the patron Saint with more than 150 figurants wearing peiod costumes, and with carts, horses and knights. 

Feast of Saint John in Ragusa 

The cult of Saint John the Baptist in Ragusa goes far backin the past. After the conquest of Sicily by the Normans and then Arabian and therefore Muslim, Christianity experienced a period of great revival and fervour, mixing together the life of Saints and historical and legendary elements, a typical example of this Saint George, surrounded by an aura of myth and cult. The notorious rivalry beetween the followers of  Saint John (called Sangiovannari) and those of Saint George (called sangiorgiari) is often a sourcedialectical disputes and verbal clashes, as well as real bloodsheds. After the disastrous earthquake of 1693, which almost razed to the ground the cities of Val di noto, Ibla was one of them , the clergy and the faithsul of St. John's  Parish, preferred to re-built their new church elsewhere, carrying into the effect of division of the city. in fact, in 1714 the works for what later became St. john's Cathedral began on the opposite upland, around which the built-up area of the new city of Ragusa Superiore subsequently developed, and which elected St. john as its Patron Saint. A very beautiful heartfelt festival: the crowd rhytmiclly cries "San Giovannuzzu" (Saint John), San Giovannuzzu bedu (Beautiful Saint john) whilist following the statue of the saint and the silver "vara" (a cerimonial carriage) contained sacred relics. those who make a "votu" (vow) or have received a favour, wear red clothes or a red symbol (the "nzareda") and become member of a silent and impressive and astonishing procession with votive torches, which involves more and more Ragusans ans visiting foreigners.

Banquet of San Giuseppe (Saint Joseph)

San giuseppe banquet (Saint Joseph) celebrations, there are typical lavish dinners, especially at S. Croce Camerina and at Acate, where group of people, made up of an olderman representing S. joseph, a young lady representing the Virgin and a young boy representing Jesus, are invited to partake of sumptuous "cene" (dinners) served on big, laid-out tables, in remembrance of the Holy Family.

Cavalcata di San Giuseppe (Cavalcade of Saint joseph)

There are also many other intresting festivals such as the "Cavalcata di San Giuseppe" (Cavalcade of S. Joseph), celebrated in Dicili on the feast of S. Joseph. A candle-lit procession winds through the streets and illuminates the Holy Family, followed by donkeys, horses and mules, decorated in garlands and floral composition where pride of places is given to a local purple-violet know as "balicu". The best rig wins a prize.

"S. Maria di Portosalvo" (our Lady of Portosalvo)

In mid August, in Marina di Ragusa, the feast of "S. maria di portosalvo" (our Lady of Portosalvo) is celebrated. A statue of the Virgin is carried in a procession at sea, followed by a large fleet of boats including fishing boats.

"Madonna delle Milizie", (Madonna of the militia)

In May, the feast of the "Madonna delle Milizie", (Madonna of the militia) is celebrated in the main square of Scicli, where a legendary event is commemorated. As the legend goes, when a horde of Saracens landed on the beach of Donnalucata, the Normans attempted to drive them off. But as they (the Normans) where having difficulties on doing that, they invoked the Madonna, who appeared (a unique case) with a sword in her hand and riding a qhite horse, helping the Normans to victory.


Christmas Celebration

Christmas is particulary felt and celebrated by locals. besides the typical elaborate "presepi" (Nativity scenes), set up both in family homes and in churches, in the past few years, "presepi viventi" (live Nativity scenes) have been set up in Monterosso Almo, giarratana, Scicli and in Cava d'Ispica, and occasionally to Ragusa and Modica.


Festival Celebration

In the past few years, various towns have organized many different festivals and events, to let as many other people as possible know and appreciate their traditional local food and crafts.

  • In February, in Chiaramonte Gulfi, during "Carnevale" (Carnival), the "Sagra della Salsiccia" (sausage festival) is organized, and includes a number of masquerades and dances.
  • In Monterosso Almo, during the carnival, the townspeople organize the "Sagra dei cavatieddi" (fresh hand made pasta shaped like little ears), the "Sagra del Pane" (fresh bread festival) where bread is served with various different savoury seasonings and the "Sagra della crispella" (soft, doughty fritters or batters, stuffed with anchovies and ricotta and fried in oil in huge frying pans).
  • The "Sagra della Seppia" (cuttlefish festival) takes place in Donnalucata during the celebrations in honour of Saint Joseph and in the end in May the town celebrates the "Sagra del pomodoro" (tomato festival).
  • The "Sagra del Pesce" (fish festival) is celebrated during the summer in Pozzallo and Scoglitti.
  • The "Sagra della Cipolla" (onion Festival) is celebrated during the summer in Giarratana.
  • "Sagra dell'Uva" (grapes festival) is held in autumn in Pedalino.
  • Fiera Emaia (a fais) is held, during various months of the year with several stands displaying various items like furniture, handy crafts, items of hobbies ecc..
  • Fiera Agricola, (agriculture fair) one of the most intresting events, on the last three year, is where livestock and farming equipment are displayed and sold out.