The Feast of the Immaculate Conception


Festa dell’Immacolata or the Feast of the Immaculate Conception is celebrated throughout Italy on December 8. The day recognizes that the Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus, was conceived without original sin–something with which, in Catholic dogma, every person is considered to have been born. In Sicily, on December 7th and 8th, there are many different traditions celebrated. Many towns hold processions in honor of the Virgin Mary. Devotees parade their statue of “The Immaculate” through the town’s streets singing and praying. Towns like Montelepre in Palermo Province celebrate the feast with family and friends while enjoying their local flat bread seasoned with oil known as vastedda. In Scicli, which is in Ragusa Province, on both evenings, people flood the streets to sing songs dedicated to “L’Immaculata” accompanied by local musicians. Differently, their procession doesn’t feature a statue: it’s about the people gathering together to sing! Known as the Canzoncine, the sing-along is the main event. The singers and marching bands walk from church to church and shrine to shrine throughout the evening paying homage to the Virgin while enjoying each other’s company. Wine and brandy is distributed to help the choristers stay warm. I photographed this shrine of “L’Immacolata” in Modica, about 20 minutes drive from Scicli.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. What a beautiful festival! It has everything – the Virgin Mary, carrying a statue of The Immaculate in a parade, food always food and delicious food, music, alcoholic treats. The photo of this little window shrine took my breath away. So lovely, and lovely choice, Allison. <3

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.