Easter is coming as well as spring. If you would like to visit Sicily, there’s no better period for a tour around the main towns to discover traditions and enjoy the island. Sicilian Secrets makes you learn more about Easter in Sicily: not only religious celebrations but also food, events and weird customs. Are you ready for another journey together?
Can you feel spring in the air? Flowers bloom, weather is mild, and nature is ‘awake’ again. This year, on April 1st we celebrate Easter and Sicily is the place to be if you want to explore gorgeous places and plunge into picturesque traditions.
This is one of the most solemn Christian holidays to commemorate Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, it’s the last day of the Holy Week but also an occasion in which religion meets the profane, let’s discover more!
Road to Trapani
Good Friday is the gravest day because it represents the so-called Passion. In Sicily, Procession of the Mysteries in Trapani is a renowned tradition that lasts almost 24 hours. Townsmen carry 20 statues around the city and in this way tell the story of the death of Jesus, thousand people generally take part to one of the oldest religious events in Europe that have been organized every Good Friday since the Easter of 1612.
Do you want to enjoy a more immersive experience? Visit Busetto Palazzolo, a village close to Trapani, where the inhabitants dress up and recreate the Stations of the Cross.
Palermo and more
One of the most traditional Easter events in Palermo happens on Maundy Thursday. People are used to visit at least three churches and pray. It’s something peculiar because parishioners set up the Sepulchers with many decorations such as flowers and plants and offer bread and wine to commemorate the Last Supper. On Good Friday, several processions are organized around the streets of Palermo and it’s possible to follow the floats across the historic center. If you are looking for the most spectacular procession, you cannot miss the one sponsored by the bakers from the church of Saint Isadore. Drummers, typical dresses, masks and more.
Not only Palermo…
Easter in Piana degli Albanesi is famous for Orthodox Easter celebrations. On Palm Sunday they recall the arrival of Jesus in Jerusalem and celebrations don’t stop till next Sunday. Citizens put on their traditional costumes, hand out blessed red hand-painted eggs and after the service in the St. Demetrios cathedral the procession of the Holy Veil starts.
And, if you plan an additional short trip to San Martino delle Scale, a small town in the mountains, enjoy even the so-called Pasquetta (Easter Monday) when the monks who live in the Benedictine Monastery celebrate Easter and spring while freeing a bunch of birds that they saved during the winter. Concerts and Gregorian chants are a nice plus!
What happens when Easter goes beyond religion? In Prizzi (PA) The Dance of the Devils lives up the town on Sunday. Some people put on red and black satanic masks, whoop it up around the village and compel pedestrians to buy them drinks. It’s a struggle between good and evil, in the end Jesus and Virgin Mary triumph and walk down the streets with other locals dressed up as angels.
Even in Adrano, a city close to Catania and Mount Etna, inhabitants celebrate the victory of good over evil with an event called Diavolata. They set up a stage in the main square, organize a sort of battle Hell Vs. Heaven and Devils are forced to pay homage to Holy Mary. It’s a huge celebration with theatrical effects, colored costumes, fire and lights.
Not only demons…
All the single men, all the single men! Oh-oh…oops, this is not a song but just another Sicilian tradition. The weirdest Easter celebration takes place in Terrasini (in the province of Palermo) where they organize the so-called Festa di li schietti. Single men lift an orange tree decorated with red handkerchiefs, bells, flags and marzipan lambs (one of the typical traditional Easter sweets!) to show off their strength to all the single ladies. From Saturday to Sunday it’s time for an awesome event that consists in processions, floats and fireworks! Do you really want to miss it?