Folklore and traditions in Sicily have been affected by
all the various and different peoples who occupied
the island during its rich past.
Giant simulacra or figures appear at many festivals:
they may be either fixed and drawn along with ropes
or pulleys, or mobile, like the “santoni” (saints),
whose internal supporting structures allow someone hidden
inside to operate them and make them move.
The fact that these figures are widespread in Catalonia and
also in Flanders suggests that they originated in Sicily under
the Arabs and Normans.
Sicily’s large spectacular processions seem to be Spanish
during these processions,
the trade associations parade for the community with
their emblems and very recognizable hierarchies.
Plays and shows performed during festivals have their origins
in the religious performances of the Middle Ages and the 17th
and 18th century religious plays:
processional floats or carts,
and sculpture groups have substituted the real actors
used in religious drama in the past.
in celebrations of St Joseph,
food is distributed at banquets and altars to mark the
end of Lent,
or to strengthen family and neighbourhood ties.
In the “laurel festival“,
usually in agricultural areas,
branches and foliage are collected, decorated and carried
in the procession,
in ways that testify to the strength and skill of the faithful.
the various celebrations often follow “viaggi” or short
trips from home to church;
for the month before the festival,
the faithful make these “journeys” every day,
for votive or devotional reasons.
The festival of the almond in blossom
The almond blossom festival is a very popular
spring festival in Agrigento.
It was first started in the early 30’s,
to celebrate the beautiful white blossom which
flowers in February here and in the surroundings area.
The festival celebrates the coming of Spring,
as well as local folk traditions with puppeteers,
singers, poets, and actors.
the fiaccolata dell’amicizia (torchlight friendship
procession) is very popular,
with international folklore groups winding trough the
streets of the old town.
The International Folklore Festival is the central event;
different peoples from all over the world come together
to dance and sing,
in the name of peace and brotherhood.