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…

Sant’Agata Inspires Community in Catania

Catania’s faithful engage in back-breaking activities to illustrate their devotion and honor their patroness, Sant’Agata, during these days of the feast. Through rituals, they emulate her suffering over three days of torture. Meanwhile, the “cittadini” also help each other and are kind and communicative with each other to get through the work. For example, to…

Celebrating Saint Agatha in Sicily

Viva Sant’Agata! For the next three days in Catania, Sicily’s second largest city, devotees of Sant’Agata will feverishly celebrate the virgin martyr who is identified by iconography where she is carrying her breasts on a plate. The city’s patroness (pictured as Roman soldiers attempted to burn her at the stake in this painting photographed in…

Light Up the Dark

Please mark your calendar to come celebrate our shared light in New York City on Sunday, Dec. 10 at 2PM at Cacio e Vino, where we’ll have a full luncheon with traditional Sicilian dishes for Santa Lucia, a presentation about the Patroness of Siracusa, and a short live concert of traditional Sicilian songs. Reservation and…

Today Women Claim the Streets

There’s no doubt that men dominate the annual activities of Catania’s Feast of Sant’Agata. The rituals that I’ve explained over the past few days are designed to display devotees’ physical strength and fortitude in tribute to the virgin martyr – – through expressions of traditionally male strength. However, in the past few years, women have…