Tag Archives: Sicily

today’s holiday:St. Agatha Festival (2015)


St. Agatha Festival (2015)

Sant’ Agata (St. Agatha) is especially revered in Catania, Sicily, where her relics are preserved in a silver casket. On February 3, 4, and 5 each year, a silver bust of St. Agatha wearing a jewel-encrusted crown is carried in procession from the cathedral to Catania’s various churches. Included in the procession are the ceri, huge wooden replicas of candlesticks that are carved with episodes from the saint’s martyrdom. The streets are lined with streamers and flowers, and illuminated by strings of colored lights after dark. The festival ends with a fireworks display in the piazza. More… Discuss

today’s holiday: St. Lucy’s Day


St. Lucy’s Day

According to tradition, St. Lucy, or Santa Lucia, was born in Syracuse, Sicily, in the 3rd or 4th century. Her day is widely celebrated in Sweden as Luciadagen, which marks the official beginning of the Christmas season. It is traditional to observe Luciadagen by dressing the oldest daughter in the family in a white robe tied with a crimson sash. Candles are set into her crown, which is covered with lingonberry leaves. The “Lucia Bride” wakes each member of the household on the morning of December 13 with a tray of coffee and special saffron buns or ginger cookies. More… Discuss

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ARTICLE: SICILY


Sicily

Sicily, the strategically located largest island in the Mediterranean, has long been a crossroads of history, a “melting pot” of ancient cultures and peoples. It was colonized by Phoenicians, Carthaginians, and Greeks starting in the 8th century BCE and in the millennia that followed fell first to the Romans, then successively to the Vandals, Goths, Byzantines, and Arabs, and finally to the Normans. Today, it is an autonomous region of Italy. Who are some of history’s most famous SiciliansMore… Discuss

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TODAY’S SAINT: St. John Theristus


Image of St. John TheristusSt. John Theristus

Benedictine monk, called Theristus or “Harvester.” He was of Calabrian lineage, born in Sicily. His mother was a slave of the Saracens. John escaped at a young age and became a monk. continue reading

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THIS DAY IN THE YESTERYEAR: MAFIA BOSS SALVATORE RIINA APPREHENDED AFTER 23 YEARS IN HIDING (1993)


 

 

 

Mafia boss Totò Riina behind bars in court aft...

Mafia boss Totò Riina behind bars in court after his arrest in 1993 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Mafia Boss Salvatore Riina Apprehended after 23 Years in Hiding (1993)

 

Riina started out as a mafia hit man and ascended the ranks, becoming a feared leader of the Sicilian Mafia. When control of the heroin trade in Sicily led to fierce rivalry among the Mafia clans, Riina—known as “The Beast”—orchestrated the murders of high-profile public officials while living in hiding for 23 years. His tactics were unusual—mafia bosses tended to be highly visible in their communities while keeping their violent activities under the radar. How did the police finally find him? More… Discuss

 

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THIS AY N THE YESTERYEAR: THE MESSINA EARTHQUAKE (1908)


The Messina Earthquake (1908)

Messina is a busy seaport and commercial center in northeastern Sicily, Italy, opposite the Italian mainland. On the morning of December 28, 1908, a magnitude 7.1 earthquake hit Messina, followed by a 40-foot (12-meter) tsunami. About 80,000 people were killed, and at least 90 percent of Messina’s buildings, including its churches and palaces, were destroyed. Afterward, the city was completely rebuilt under standards for quake-resistant construction. What happened to the survivors? More…Discuss

 

Today’s Birthday: Giuseppe Garibaldi (1807)


Giuseppe Garibaldi (1807)

Garibaldi is considered an Italian national hero for his role in the Risorgimento, the movement to liberate and unify Italy. In 1848, after having spent time in South America learning guerilla warfare tactics, he returned to Italy to fight for its independence. He fought Austria in Milan and France in Rome. In 1860, he raised an army of 1,000 and attacked Sicily. By the end of his campaign, he commanded 30,000 men, with whom he seized Naples, before handing all of southern Italy over to whom? More… Discuss