The feast of Sant’Alfio in Trecastagni, in the province of Catania, the most characteristic and the most beautiful of those of the Etna province, dates back to immemorial times, if we consider that, after the martyrdom of the three brothers, happened to Lentini in 253 , almost immediately a votive icon was raised in the place of their passage here, where the Sanctuary stands today. However, he had a special impulse after the relics of the Three Saints were found in the monastery of the Basilian Fathers of S. Filippo di Fragalà (Me) in 1516.
Twenty-one cannon shots, fired in the morning by the Forte Mulino a Vento, start the great demonstration that lasts from 1 to 17 May. But, even before the cannon announces the beginning of the festival it is possible to meet, along the roads that lead to the village from every part of the province, the pilgrims who make the “trip” to S. Alfio and who come to the mass at 5.30.
The usual pyrotechnic event takes place on the afternoon of May 9th, a “competition” of fireworks among the members of the three “parties” of the festival – Sant’Alfio, Tondo and Collegiata. On Christmas Eve, May 9, “Holy Night”, many devout pilgrims, “the nuri” (the nudes), often barefoot, go up from Catania and the surrounding towns to the Sanctuary of Trecastagni on the slopes of Mount Etna. heavy votive “candle” on the shoulders, to be offered to the saints. The various shrines that, numerous, meet along the Ethnic roads, on the other hand, can be read as “stations” of rest and rest, but perhaps more than meditation and prayer, along the pilgrims’ journey to the various sanctuaries locals. The bells prolong, with the festive sound, the echo of the cannon salvos, and announce the opening of the sacred novena of preaching and prayer, which prepares, with a spiritual journey, the devotees and pilgrims, always numerous, at the meeting annual with “their” saints. The party then comes alive while many faithful continue to “cry” their prayers.
During the festival there is a parade of typical Sicilian carts, with an exhibition of the different models of cart, built and decorated by our ancestors. The cart is no longer a vehicle for goods or passengers, but is often present at parties, as a celebration of itself. The eighth of the festival, May 17, “closes” the festivities, but the Saints will remain unveiled until the first Sunday of June.
On the first Sunday of September the passage of the SS.MM. Alfio Filadelfo and Cirino da Trecastagni.
Photo Author Federico Coco
More information and program
Trecastagni Sanctuary site
Facebook page The Feast of St. Alfio in Trecastagni