Patron saint festivals and feasts connected to the agricultural seasons, typical products and the strong roots of farming culture are very prominent also in this area of Sicily, and bring it to life throughout the year.
Among the many events, the following are worth highlighting:
We will start with Catania, a large, lively city with a full programme of events throughout the year. In terms of religious festivals, it is worth noting that Catania has a genuine idolatry for its patron saint, Sant’Agata.
Festival of Sant’Agata, patron saint of Catania. One of the most wonderful patron saint festivals in the world: from the 3rd to the 5th February are three days of worship, devotion, folklore and traditions. The festivities, especially on the days of the 4th and 5th February, are truly phantasmagorical and particularly engaging, thanks to the lively participation of the community (men in white shirts and women in green shirts flooding the streets of the city and its balconies).
The illumination of the steps of the main church with 4000 oil lamps and 11 ornate “cerei” that sway as they move is particularly evocative and artistic. The crowd of worshippers shouts: “Cittadini, viva sant’Agata! (Citizens, long live Sant’Agata!)”, and others respond: “Certo, certo! (Of course, of course!)”.
Christmas in Catania
Christmas tours, through the streets, piazzas, churches, museums, and palaces of the city. Events, shows and Christmas markets in the city’s historical centre.
8th December - 6th January
San Silvestro a Mare in Catania
San Silvestro a Mare in Catania is a traditional swim in the waters of the Gulf of Ognina on New Year’s Eve.
Festival of the Madonna del Carmelo in Catania
A solemn festival for the “Beata Vergine Maria del Monte Carmelo”, which takes place on the 16th July in the church of the same name, in the heart of the city’s historical centre.
Summer festival of Sant'Agata in Catania - Summer Celebrations for Sant'Agata.
Commemoration of the Transfer of the Patron Saint’s Relics from Constantinople to Catania.
Festival of the "Madonna Bambina"
In the fishing village of Ognina, this takes place on the 8th September and involves a procession to the sea with the fishermen’s boats and fireworks on the water, and a Fish Festival.
Festival of the Patron Saint, San Mauro
of Aci Castello
Let’s move on to Acireale, a city that expresses the epitome of Sicilian Baroque, also known for its carnival, considered the most wonderful in Sicily.
Carnival of Acireale
Featuring parades with groups of people in fancy dress, carnival floats and performances, taking place every year in February.
Summer Carnival of Acireale
Art and Folklore at the finest “Summer Carnival in Sicily”, which takes place towards the end of August, with a parade of floats, events and performances.
20th - 22nd August
Festivities in honour of San Sebastiano
Joint patron saint of Acireale, taking place from the 20th – 27th January. A spectacular outing for the feretory, pulled by traditional barefoot worshippers.
20th - 27th January
Festival of Santa Venera in Acireale
A Baroque festival in honour of the virgin martyr Santa Venera, the main patron saint of the City of Acireale. Traditional “Tours” of the saint on a silver feretory, accompanied by the characteristic Candelabras.
From 22nd - 26th July
Fishermen's Festival in Santa Maria la Scala
This event takes place on the last weekend in August, which is linked to the sea and the now traditional festival of the “scaloti” fishermen. Opportunity to taste the traditional seafood dishes of the area.
Last weekend in August
Festival of San Giovanni Battista in Acitrezza
Traditional festivities that take place between the 24th and 25th June in honour of the patron saint, San Giovanni Battista, with the evocative pantomime “U Pisci a mari” in the waters of the marina near the beautiful volcanic stacks. The festival also involves religious rites, processions and parades.
24th - 25th June
Summer in Fiumefreddo di Sicilia
The Fiumefreddo summer. An array of religious events, exhibitions and markets, and sports events. Traditional Almond Gelato Festival and Cannoli Festival.
Octopus and Swordfish Festivals in Pozzillo
These culinary events that attract thousands of curious visitors and enthusiasts every year, with tasting sessions and barbecues, take place in the magnificent setting of the village of Pozzillo, surrounded by gardens of citrus fruits, on the
penultimate and final weekends in July, respectively.
Festival of the Heavenly Patron Saint Madonna della Catena
The precious simulacrum of the Madonna with her precious “Mantle” is carried through the streets of Aci Catena in the midst of a festive crowd.
Palio of the Barrels of Eustachio in Riposto
One of the most characteristic events of the Etna hinterland, which aims to promote the art of barrel making.
Festival of San Pancrazio in Giardini Naxos
“A Historical re-enactment of the landing of San Pancrazio”, the patron saint of Giardini Naxos. A procession to the sea with the statue of the holy bishop and martyr.
Festival of the Madonna Raccomandata in Giardini Naxos
The traditional “Scinnuta” (descent) of the Madonna from the altar, and her procession through the streets of the town.
7th - 9th September
Festival of San Domenico in Augusta
A traditional procession of the “Reliquary Arm” of the patron saint and the confraternities. The simulacrum of the saint is covered in the gold votive offerings received over the centuries.