Great Celebrations in Palermo for Santa Rosalia

Santa Rosalia, the patron saint of Palermo is celebrated each year on the 14th and 15th of July. The so-called “Fistino” represents the most important religious and folkloristic celebration of the city.

The tradition dates back to 1624 when Palermo suffered a terrible plague that killed thousands of inhabitants. The Saint that had lived in prayer as a hermit in a cave on Mount Pellegrino appeared to a hunter. She indicated him the cave in which her remains were to be found and ordered they be carried in procession around the city. The plague was defeated and since then Palermo honors Santa Rosalia for the blessing received.

The Fistino also called a granni festa (the big festa) is this year at its 390th edition. The highlight of the festival is the procession of the Carro Trionfale (triumph float), a vessel shaped float renewed each year on which the statue of the Santuzza stands on a red rose flower bed.

The procession departing from the Cathedral, proceeds along Corso Vittorio, the Quattro Canti and through Porta Felice reaches the Foro Italico. There spectacular fire works and marching band tunes create a great folkloristic atmosphere.

As all Sicilian festivals, the Fistino di Santa Rosalia has its gastonomic traditions. The delicious pasta con le sarde (macaroni with sardines) is a must during these days. Street food stands will tempt you with appetizing sfinciuni (Sicilian pizza),beddu purpu (boiled octopus) and babbaluci (small boiled snails) of which Sicilians are very fond of. A refreshing slice of watermelon is the perfect finish which you can find at the milunaru (watermelon vendor) stand.

The Festino di Santa Rosalia attracts thousands of tourists each year.

 By Maria Lina Bommarito


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