The Bust Of Sant’Agata Of Sicily

Replicas of the bust of Sant’Agata appear all over Catania. The actual bust is made of precious metals and is encrusted with jewels, making it extremely heavy. During these days of the feast, February 3 to 5, Catania’s faithful engage in back-breaking activities to illustrate their devotion and honor their patroness, Sant’Agata. Through rituals, they…

Sicily’s Breast Shaped Pastry

When you see this pastry show up in every pasticceria in Sicily, you know February is upon us. Minna di Sant’Agata (or Minna di Sant’Aita in Sicilian), or Saint Agatha’s Breast, is made and eaten in honor of the Sant’Agata, Catania’s patroness. The breast-shaped pastry represents the virgin martyr who is the patron saint of…

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…

A Dagger

Yes, that is a dagger in her neck! When the Christian maiden Lucia refused to participate in the activities of the Roman temple dedicated to sacred prostitution to which she was condemned, the governor of Siracusa, Paschasius, sent soldiers to remove her, however she was immovable! They brought in oxen to drag her away, yet…

The Young Maiden Lucia

At the dawn of the 4th century, practicing Christianity in the Roman-ruled city of Siracusa was illegal. Already though, inspired by nearby Catania’s Patron Saint, Sant’Agata, who lived just a few decades before (from 231 AD – 251 AD), the young and beautiful Lucia devoted herself to Christianity. In fact, she was known to enter…

Eyes and A Dagger

Santa Lucia is often identified with eyes on a plate, a dagger, flames or a torch, and a palm. This image is from the Duomo in Siracusa. Eyes on a plate to remind us that the beautiful maiden’s eyes were either gouged out by the Roman soldiers or she did it herself to make herself…

Saint Agatha’s Breasts

Make no mistake, these pastry are created to look like breasts. And, I will say also, that it is a celebration of them! I’m preparing you for the big feast in Catania. From February 3 to 5, Eastern Sicily’s largest city (and the second largest in Sicily) is alive with passionate fervor as devotees celebrate…