Art & culture

Traditions and Folklore in Sicily

Folklore and traditions in Sicily have been affected by all the various and different peoples who occupied the island during its rich past.

Folklore and traditions in Sicily have been affected by

all the various and different peoples who occupied

the island during its rich past.

Giant simulacra or figures appear at many festivals:

they may be either fixed and drawn along with ropes

or pulleys, or mobile, like the “santoni” (saints),

whose internal supporting structures allow someone hidden

inside to operate them and make them move.

The fact that these figures are widespread in Catalonia and

also in Flanders suggests that they originated in Sicily under

the Arabs and Normans.

Sicily’s large spectacular processions seem to be Spanish

in origins;

during these processions,

the trade associations parade for the community with

their emblems and very recognizable hierarchies.

Plays and shows performed during festivals have their origins

in the religious performances of the Middle Ages and the 17th

and 18th century religious plays:

processional floats or carts,

and sculpture groups have substituted the real actors

used in religious drama in the past.

For example,

in celebrations of St Joseph,

therefore,

food is distributed at banquets and altars to mark the

end of Lent,

or to strengthen family and neighbourhood ties.

In the “laurel festival“,

usually in agricultural areas,

branches and foliage are collected, decorated and carried

in the procession,

in ways that testify to the strength and skill of the faithful.

Although,

the various celebrations often follow “viaggi” or short

trips from home to church;

for the month before the festival,

the faithful make these “journeys” every day,

for votive or devotional reasons.

The festival of the almond in blossom

The almond blossom festival is a very popular

spring festival in Agrigento.

It was first started in the early 30’s,

to celebrate the beautiful white blossom which

flowers in February here and in the surroundings area.

The festival celebrates the coming of Spring,

as well as local folk traditions with puppeteers,

singers, poets, and actors.

In Akragas,

the fiaccolata dell’amicizia (torchlight friendship

procession) is very popular,

with international folklore groups winding trough the

streets of the old town.

The International Folklore Festival is the central event;

different peoples from all over the world come together

to dance and sing,

in the name of peace and brotherhood.

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