St. Agatha Festival

St. Agatha Festival

February 3-5
Sant' Agata is especially revered in Catania, Sicily, where her relics are preserved in a silver casket. The beautiful young Sicilian virgin was put to death in the third century because she refused to yield to the advances of a Roman prefect. Among the tortures she is said to have endured was having her breasts cut off, and to this day she is the patron saint of nursing mothers and women suffering from diseases of the breast.
On February 3, 4 and 5 each year, a silver bust of St. Agatha wearing a jewel-encrusted crown is carried in procession from the cathedral to Catania's various churches. Included in the procession are the ceri, huge wooden replicas of candlesticks which are carved with episodes from the saint's martyrdom. The streets are lined with streamers and flowers, and illuminated by strings of colored lights after dark. The festival ends with a fireworks display in the piazza.
CONTACTS:
Regione Siciliana, Regional Council for Tourism, Communications and Transport
Via Emanuele Notarbartolo, 9
Palermo, Sicily 90141 Italy
39-91-6968-201; fax: 39-91-6968-135
www.regione.sicilia.it
SOURCES:
AnnivHol-2000, p. 22
FestSaintDays-1915, p. 32
FestWestEur-1958, p. 90
OxYear-1999, p. 68