La festa di San Giuseppe che si celebra il 19 Marzo ha origini molto antiche, che risalgono alla tradizione pagana. Il 19 Marzo è a tutti gli effetti la vigilia dell’equinozio di primavera.
La festa di San Giuseppe che si celebra il 19 Marzo ha origini molto antiche, che risalgono alla tradizione pagana. Il 19 Marzo è a tutti gli effetti la vigilia dell’equinozio di primavera, quando si svolgevano i baccanali, i riti dionisiaci volti alla propiziazione della fertilità, caratterizzati da un’estrema licenziosità. Nel mese di Marzo venivano svolti anche i riti di purificazione agraria. Tracce del legame con questo tipo di culti si ritrovano nella tradizione dei falò dei residui del raccolto dell’anno precedente ancora diffusi in molte regioni.
La festa di San Giuseppe è anche la festa del papà, ma non in tutto il mondo. Nei Paesi anglossassoni infatti la festa del papà viene celebrata la terza domenica di Giugno e non assume caratteri religiosi. La festa del papà nasce in America all’inizio del Novecento come una festa improntata alla laicità. In Italia come in molti altri Paesi la festa si caratterizza per la sua collocazione nella dimensione cattolica, affondando le sue radici nella Chiesa dell’est e poi portata in Occidente.
Secondo la tradizione San Giuseppe, oltre ad essere il patrono dei falegnami e degli artigiani, è anche il protettore dei poveri, perchè a Giuseppe e Maria fu negato un riparo per il parto da poveri in fuga. Da ciò l’usanza presente in alcune regioni del Sud di invitare i poveri il 19 Marzo al banchetto di San Giuseppe. Il padrone di casa serviva i poveri, che siedevano alla tavola benedetta da un sacerdote.
E’ per questo che un elemento importante legato alla festa di San Giuseppe è il pane, che ricorre spesso soprattutto nel contesto siciliano, soprattutto deposto sugli altari. I falò e le tavole imbandite si ritrovano anche nel Salento, dove la festa è celebrata all’insegna degli elementi fondamentali del pellegrinaggio e dell’ospitalità.
Marzo / March
Festa di San Giuseppe origini e tradizioni
Agosto / August
The word Ferragosto comes from Latin “Ferae Augusti”. It was a pagan holyday introduced by the Roman Emperor Augustus to celebrate the grain harvest on the first day of August. This celebration originally occurred at the beginning of September to correspond to end of the summer cycle, but the Emperor moved it to the beginning of August, the month carrying his name.
The Feriae Augusti would carry on with collective rites, buffets, drinks and sexual excesses where everyone could participate including slaves and servants. These celebrations would last all month long and culminate on the 15th of the month. This series of celebrations were so rooted in the culture that the church decided to Christianize them instead of trying to erase them. So in the VI century, they were transformed into the celebration of the Virgin Mary’s into assumption to heaven.
Since then the Assumption to heaven of the Virgin Mary is celebrated in many Italian towns with impressive religious processions. Palermo, Sassari, and Tivole (Rome) hold particularly noteworthy festivals. Boys carry floats”barette” with the Virgin Mary statue in Palermo and “candelieri” paper mache floats, shaped as giant palm trees parade through Sassari.
In Tivoli (Rome) the “inchinata”, a kneeling statue of the Virgin Mary, ceremonially meets the Jesus statue. Genoa, Milan and Abruzzi are some of the cities that celebrate the significance of this festival with fireworks.
Even though the celebration has a strong religious solemnity it hasn’t lost its popular appeal as seen by the number of people taking picnics and day trips just out of the city limits and of course with long lines in the highway! It’s from these ancestral traditions that have come the rites of the beach bon-fire, singing and dancing in front of sanctuaries and the sound of the beat of antique goatskin drum, all of which can still be seen in the area that once was the Magna Greece.
Dicembre / December
Santa Lucia (283–304), also known as Saint Lucy, was a wealthy young Christian martyr venerated as a saint by the Roman Catholic Church, Anglican, Lutheran, and Orthodox Christians. She is unique as one of the few saints celebrated by members of the Lutheran Church among the Scandinavian people, who take part in Saint Lucy's Day celebrations that retain many elements of Germanic paganism.
Santa Lucia’s feast day is 13 December. Her name, derived from Lux meaning "Light, makes her the patron saint of the blind. Lucy was a Christian martyr during the Diocletian persecution. She took a vow of chastity for her mother’s recovery and, although betrothed, she maintained her vow, refused to marry, and had her wedding dowry distributed to the poor. Her pagan groom denounced her as a Christian to the governor of Syracuse, Sicily. Miraculously unable to move her or burn her, the guards took out her eyes with a fork. In another version, Lucy's betrothed admired her eyes, so she tore them out and gave them to him, saying, "Now let me live to God".
She is the patron saint of Siracusa, Sicily, the city of her birth where she was born from a well off family in 1283. Betrothed to Pascanio, a pagan she refused to marry to keep her vow of chastity made for her mother recovery. Celebrations take place in May as well as 13 December. Santa Lucia is also popular among children in some regions of North-Eastern Italy, namely Trentino, East Lombardy (Bergamo, Brescia, Cremona and Mantua), parts of Veneto, (Verona), parts of Emilia-Romagna, (Piacenza, Parma and Reggio Emilia), and all of Friuli, where she is said to bring gifts to good children and coal to bad ones the night between December 12 and 13.
According to tradition, she arrives in the company of a donkey and her escort, Castaldo. Children are asked to leave some coffee for Lucia, a carrot for the donkey and a glass of wine for Castaldo. They must not watch Santa Lucia delivering these gifts, or she will throw ashes in their eyes, temporarily blinding them. In Sicily and among the Sicilian diaspora, cuccìa is eaten in memory of Saint Lucy's miraculous averting of famine.
L'Infiorata di Noto
The third weekend in May, the scenic city of Noto in Sicily, features flower "mosaic" pictures made of flower petals at the Infiorata di Noto festival. Noto is a beautiful Baroque town and UNESCO World Heritage site on the southeastern coast of Sicily.
The start of an Infiorata tradition in Noto is owed to a group of artists from Genzano. During a visit in the Sicilian town, in 1980, hearing that the local administrators were seeking ways and activities to promote the local attractions and develop tourism, they first launched the idea of an annual flower festival similar to that already held in their hometown. The exhibit consists of many individual works spread out on the streets of the town centre offering a really beautiful sight. Via Nicolaci, going slightly uphill and lined with beautiful baroque palaces, was chosen as the central site for the event. But all the main streets and monuments are involved in the big event, with more flower designs and decoration.