Easter week is referred to as Settimana Santa or Holy Week and features some of the most vibrant processions and festivals in Sicily. Many of these have roots in traditions that can be traced back to Spain and are incredibly colorful, taking place against a backdrop of atmospheric streets and squares. The mixture of religiosity, mysticism, lights, costumes and good food makes this one of the best times to visit.
All over the island, in large towns and tiny villages alike, processions weave their way through narrow streets, central thoroughfares and piazzas until finally they arrive at the local parish church or Cathedral.
Easter also signals the arrival of Spring, and many pagan traditions that used to mark the arrival of the “beautiful season” have been incorporated into the religious festivities.
The climate is mild and the countryside is full of splendid colored flowers.
Many of the processions are devoted to the Virgin’s desperate search for her child but others favor the dramatic struggle between good and evil. Also, during the Holy Week, in the Sicilian towns, revive very ancient and picturesque traditions.
Every town has its own tradition: religious re-enactments, processions with religious symbols, ritual prayers and lots of marvelous homemade food. During this long festivity week we were able to witness three easter processions; one in Erice, one in Marsala and the most spectacular one in baroque town of Scicli. All three were quite different from one another in the way they re-enacted, the amount of people attending and the energy level that was put into the procession.