Agatha Prayed Louder

Christianity was illegal during Agata’s life in the early 3rd Century AD. So, when she refused the advances of the Roman prefect Quintianus, he arrested her and condemned her to a brothel as punishment. Having sworn herself to God, she protested participating in the activities of the brothel. As a result, Agata was thrown into…

Buona Madonna!

Buona Madonna! This is how my cousin Evelina in Sicily greeted me by text today. So, Happy Feast of the Immaculate Conception or la Festa dell’Immacolata to you! Today’s feast recognizes that the Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus, was conceived without original sin — something with which, in Catholic dogma, every person is considered…

Lucia Brought Light

The pure and beautiful Lucia was known to enter the dark catacombs of Siracusa, lighting her way with a torch in order to feed less fortunate, early Christians. It was the dawn of the 4th century, and practicing Christianity in the Roman-ruled capital was illegal. Already though, inspired by nearby Catania’s patron saint, Sant’Agata, who…

Rice Balls, Glorious Rice Balls

Before I continue with the significance of the December 13 Feast for Santa Lucia, let’s talk about the really serious stuff! That is, that Palermitani celebrate the Saint by eating arancine. Arancine (as they are known in Palermo, pictured right; Arancini, if you’re from the east side of Sicily, pictured left), are rice balls filled…