Festa di Santa Lucia 2019, the religious celebration dedicated to Saint Lucia of Syracuse, will take place on Friday, December 13, in Syracuse. The octave of the feast will take place next Friday, on December 20.
Saint Lucia, the patron saint of Syracuse, is celebrated on two occasions. The feast on December 13 and 20 commemorates the martyrdom of the Saint, while the Feast of Saint Lucia of the Quails, held on two consecutive Sundays in May, recalls the miracle occured in 1646, when the city passed through a serious famine.
Saint Lucia was a martyr who died during the time of the Roman Emperor Diocletian and his persecution of Christians. She is venerated as a saint by the Roman Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran and Orthodox churches.
PROGRAM OF THE EVENT
On Friday, December 13, around 3.30 pm, the statue of the Saint will be carried in slow procession from the Cathedral of Syracuse, located on the island of Ortygia, to the Church of Santa Lucia al Sepolcro, located on the mainland, about 2 kilometers away.
The procession will be followed by an 18th-century carriage, with costumed characters in the 18th century style. Many people, holding candles, will make the journey barefoot, as a sign of thanksgiving.
The procession will pass then through the Porta Marina, the only remaining ancient gate of the city, will cross the Umbertino Bridge and will head to the Borgata, the other historical district of Syracuse, where it will arrive in the evening.
Once in Piazza Santa Lucia, the festive sound of the bells will announce the entrance of Santa Lucia in the church, and the Holy Mass will take place.
One week later, on December 20, the parade will go the opposite way, and the statue, carried on the shoulders by the locals, will return to the Cathedral. This time, the itinerary is different, and contains two important stops – first, at the Sanctuary of the Madonna delle Lacrime, for an intense moment of prayer, and second, a few hundred meters further, at the General Hospital Umberto I.
When the procession will arrive at the Umbertino Bridge, the city will greet Santa Lucia with festive fireworks, before it will resume its journey to the Cathedral.