Viva Sant’Agata!

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Last night, “cittadini” of Catania (or citizens) packed the streets to pay homage to their patron Sant’Agata. 4-foot tall candles lit the way for the pink-flower-decorated, silver carriage, or fercolo, that carried the Saint’s statue and her relics to all of the important locations where Agatha lived and suffered, so devotees could reflect and pray. They feverishly chanted, “Cittadini! Cittadini! Siamo tutti devoti tutti?” (Citizens! Citizens! Are we all believers all?) “Certo! Certo!” (Of course! Of course!) They responded. Fireworks filled the sky over the Piazza del Duomo. Today, February 5, there is another procession of thousands pulling the fercolo by thick, long ropes through the city’s neighborhoods, including a harrowing ascent up the steep incline of Monte Sangiuliano. Until finally, after decorating the carriage with white flowers, Catania’s devotees will solemnly return the bejeweled statue and her relics to the cathedral’s vault–symbolizing putting the virgin martyr at peace. (Photo Credit of Basilica Cattedrale Sant’Agata V. M. Catania: Filippo Buttitta)

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