Santa Lucia Answered Their Prayers

Today we’ll make rice balls and cuccìa at noon (eastern time) for Santa Lucia.

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In the days leading up to the Feast of Santa Lucia, December 13, many Sicilians refrain from eating pasta and only eat un-ground wheat grain, or “farro,” that is prepared as a dish called cuccìa. Devotees observe this ritual to remember the severe famine that struck Siracusa and Palermo in 1646. During that time of Spanish domination, the faithful prayed to their patron saint, seeking relief from hunger.

Finally in May, during a mass, a squawking quail flew into the duomo in Ortigia (NB, the name “Ortigia” comes from the Ancient Greek word “ortyx,” which means quail.). At that moment, a messenger entered the church announcing that ships had arrived carrying wheat grain. All hailed it a miracle, attributing the relief to Santa Lucia having answered their prayers. Now, annually for her feast day in December and also again in May, devotees process a precious silver statue through the streets in homage to the patron saint of sight, eyes, light, and wheat.

Please join us online to celebrate the Feast of Santa Lucia today, Sunday, Dec. 13 at Noon Eastern. The highlight of our meeting, which will include a discussion about the feast history and traditions, will be a hands-on arancini (rice ball) cooking class and a cuccìa (traditional wheat berry pudding) demonstration led by Alessia Liistro of Smile and Food, who will be broadcasting from her kitchen in Siracusa province. Join us from your kitchen to learn about these Sicilian traditions!

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