La Festa di li Schietti
LA FESTA DI LI SCHIETTI
(THE CELEBRATION OF THE UNMARRIED)
A very popular celebration takes place every year in Terrasini (province of Palermo) on Easter day. What we’re talking about is the “Festa di li Schietti” (celebration of the unmarried) which has very ancient origins but has returned in use since 1966.
The “festa” consisted originally of the raising of an orange tree by unmarried young men to demonstrate to their beloved their ability and strength. Today the tree-raising has become a contest and is the main event of the renomated “festa di li schietti”.
The preparation for event begins the day before, with the cutting of the best bitter orange tree in the area which is then decorating with with ribbons, ornaments and chimes. The day goes on with a folkoristic picnic to which every is welcomed to enjoy a big family barbeque with grilled sardines, sausage, lamb, wine, beer, music and dancing.
In the afternoon the tree is taken into town on a horse-led Sicilian cart, colorfully decorated for the big occasion. Other beautiful carts and horses arrive in town to parade along the main street to reach Cala Rossa, the sea promenade.
On Easter morning the tree is taken around town and young men raise it below their girlfriend’s balcony to give a demonstration of their strength.
In the afternoon the contest takes place. Everyone participates to the excitement: the music band plays to encourage the fellow to resist as long as possible. The person, either single or married, that keeps the tree up for the longest time, is the winner.
The entertainment goes on until night with music concerts in the spectacular enlightened plaza and late at night spectacular fireworks take place on the seaside.
written by Maria Lina Bommarito