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Annual Events in Sicily
This is a general description of cultural events which take place in Sicily every
year. As precise dates often vary and organization is usually lax (with precise dates sometimes
scheduled just a month or six weeks before an event), it's always best to confirm any event's
date before planning to attend. That's easiest to do by consulting specific
web sites. (See Finding Event Information below.)
Best of Sicily does not guarantee the precise dates of these events. We regret that we cannot respond
to questions regarding specific events in particular cities. To find out more about events (shows, concerts)
taking place while you're in Sicily, pick up a copy of Lapis, a weekly publication available free of
charge at information booths and some shops, with separate editions for Catania and Palermo.
Piana degli Albanesi, Palermo.
Byzantine Epiphany Celebrations at Piana degli Albanesi and the Martorana Church (Palermo). Eastern rite liturgy and events similar to those of Greek Orthodox Church.
San Sebastiano (St. Sebastian) ceremony and festival
Almond blossom festival (Sagra del Mandorlo). Traditional folk festival in Valley of the Temples and city of Agrigento, with parades, shows, craft exhibits.
Feast of Saint Agatha (Sant'Agata), patron of Catania. Processions, shows, exhibits.
Carnival Week (40 days before Easter)
Carnival Celebrations (Mardi Gras or Shrove Tuesday), featuring parades of costumed actors and floats, games, holiday foods.
Saint Joseph's Day. Feast is celebrated throughout Sicily with special pastries, breads, dinners.
Good Friday (Friday before Easter)
The best known religious processions and passion plays. The Eastern Rite ceremonies at Piana degli Albanesi are distinctly Orthodox in character. The Erice procession, which usually begins at 3 PM on Good friday, is our favorite.
Sagra della Ricotta (Ricotta Festival), coincides with Saint Mark's Day and Liberation Day.
Sicilian Carriage Festival (native horsecarts and costumes).
Holy Crucifix Procession (not held every year).
Beach Festival, held second week of May.
Primavera Barocca (Baroque Spring Festival). Dates vary.
Last Sunday of May
Feast of Saint George Ceremonies and Fireworks (the feast is actually 23 April).
Arab Horse Race (Arab style palio).
Taormina Film Festival. Internationally known cinema festival.
Palermo. Saint Rosalie. Processions, festivals, plays, fireworks.
San Giacomo Festival with candlelit streets in evening.
Dramatic performances at Greek amphitheatre.
Dramatic performances at Greek amphitheatre.
Renaissance Music Festival.
Kals'Art music and art festival, held into mid-September, but not every year.
Holy Savior festivities with music, typical food, games.
Madonna della Luce. Nighttime boat procession off Cefalù's coast.
Palio Normanno. Medieval and Renaissance equestrian games (jousts) and shows, costumed processions and parades.
Parade of the giants. Floats of the city's mythical founders.
Maritime Festival. Features rowing regatta around Ortygia, processions.
Saint Bartholomew (San Bartolomeo) Festival features fireworks display.
Madonna della Luce procession with floats, costumed participants.
Sherbet Festival, dedicated to sorbets and ice creams. September 15th-18th.
Couscous Festival. Culinary exposition featuring Sicilian and North African cuisine and events.
November or December
Festival of holy music (chant, hymns) performed traditionally.
Exhibit of ceramic Nativity scenes. Such exhibits can be seen in most Sicilian cities.
Saint Lucy Festival in Ortygia district. Patron saint of Syracuse.
Finding Event Information: Most of the events mentioned here, as well as less prominent local ones in small towns, are described in greater detail, with precise dates and times, on dedicated web sites (some of which have bilingual Italian-English text). While Best of Sicily doesn't link directly to such sites, you can find them using Google and Yahoo. We suggest you use a search phrase beginning with the name of the locality followed by the event or holiday (in Italian). For example, erice+pasqua for Easter events in Erice; a local folk event is sometimes called a sagra. A search in English may also yield results. Sites of a few venues, like the opera houses, are linked on the link page.
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