Festa di Santa Lucia delle Quaglie (Feast of Saint Lucia of the Quails), known also as the Patronage of Saint Lucia, is a religious celebration held every year on the first two Sundays of May, in Syracuse.
In Syracuse, there are many feasts dedicated to Santa Lucia, which recall various miracles attributed to the Saint. Besides the Feast of Saint Lucia of the Quails, another important celebration dedicated to the Saint is the feast held on 13th and 20th December.
The May celebration recalls the miracle occured in 1646, when the city passed through a serious famine, and ships loaded with grain arrived in the harbour at the right moment, saving Syracuse from calamity. The legend tells that a quail flew inside the Cathedral to announce the miracle.
On the first Sunday of May, around midday, a short procession takes place from the Cathedral of Syracuse to the Church of Santa Lucia alla Badia, located only a few meters away, in the same square, Piazza Duomo. On this occasion, the statue of Santa Lucia is transported from one church to another and, during this short pilgrimage, doves are released from the balconies that surround the square.
On the next Sunday, the statue of the Saint returns from the Church of Santa Lucia alla Badia to the Cathedral, in a similar procession that starts around 7 pm. This time, the procession wanders along the streets of the Ortygia island, before returning to the Cathedral.
In 2019, FESTA DI SANTA LUCIA DELLE QUAGLIE will be held on the first two consecutive Sundays of May. The statue of the Saint will be transported from the Cathedral to the Church of Santa Lucia alla Badia on the 5th of May, with the flight of the doves taking place on the same day, and the return of the statue to the Cathedral will happen the following Sunday, on the 12th.