June 15th – Mascalucia (CT)
Celebrations in Honor to the Patron Saint and Protector Vito in Mascalucia (CT), June 15, in memory of his glorious birth to heaven and the first Sunday of August. Like every year the City of Mascalucia prepares to welcome the patron with great faith and devotion.
Many years ago the Patron Saint was Saint Nicholas of Bari, but after various vicissitudes his place was taken by San Vito. San Vito martyr was born in Mazara probably around AD 286. Tradition says that he lost his mother as a child and that he was entrusted to the care of a Christian nurse named Crescenzia and a Christian teacher, also called Modesto, the whom they secretly taught him in the Christian faith. On February 23rd, 303 a persecution against the Christians broke out in a furious manner with the edict issued by the emperor Diocletian.
The persecution soon spread, like a cyclone, for all the provinces of the empire and the orders of the emperor soon reached Sicily, where almost all the Christians preferred to die rather than to deny Christ. Vito’s father, tried in every way to dissuade his son to adhere to Christianity, but not having succeeded, he denounced it to the public authorities. Certainly also for the young Vito were used all those torture that were put in place on such occasions. First of all, the Martyr was tried to get dirty with the temptation of the senses, so that before his faith, man would feel himself a vanquished and a traitor in the moral life.
Opening Carri that tell the life of the patron saint, and spectacular fireworks. Suggestive procession of the Sacred Effige del Santo, placed on the silvery Fercolo, traditional “Entry of the parties” (section of the districts of Mascalucia, San Vito and Matrice), enchanting fireworks display. The party evenings end with the opening of the San Vito Cart, an architectural structure in iron and wood characterized by artistic motifs with living figures that represent the life of Vito plastically. The climax of the final scene occurs with the apotheosis of San Vito, unveiled with a grandiose fireworks display. The celebrations in honor of the Patron Saint begin with the Holy Mass, the exposition of the SS. and guided adoration.
9.15 am Unveiled of the patron saint Vito.
5.00 pm Entry of the Band of the Band
8.00 pm Exit of the patron saint Vito and Procession along the main streets of the city and up to the Chiesa Madre.
11.30 pm return of the patron saint Vito in his own church and spectacular fireworks.
Summer festivities – first Sunday in August
Unveiled by the Patron Saint Vito, at 9.00 pm Exit of San Vito and Procession along Via Etnea until Chiesa Madre, return to the church of San Vito at the conclusion of the Pirotecnico show
“Hurray Santu Vitu”.
The cult of San Vito is dated much earlier than its official proclamation, in fact it is known that, during the eruption of 1669, the holy statue, as a precaution, was transported to Catania in the Cathedral.
On June 15, the feast of the patron Saint San Vito is celebrated, the day of his martyrdom. On that day the village wakes up at dawn with the festive sound of all the bells of the Churches that announce to the devotees the beginning of the festivities.
During the first mass takes place the “unveiled” characteristic of the Saint. The Church is always full of devotees, most of them wearing white handkerchiefs to praise the patron saint of “viva San Vito”! The climax of the ceremony is at the moment of the “Gloria”, when the door of the Sacello opens slowly and slowly and the statue of the Patron begins to glimpse.
The bells ring at the party, the firecrackers crackle outside the church and all of them inside are in San Vito. In a few minutes San Vito is shining in the middle of his altar and immediately a small group of devotees are ready to take the statue and place it on the main altar. The mass continues between chants and litanies, also dialectal, which recall the martyrdom of the Saint.
The Church remains open all day to allow the faithful to honor the saint.
At the end of the morning mass, the Commission of the festivities preceded by the band goes on the streets of the village to collect offers or rather the gifts that will then be banned at the afternoon auction. A moto-ape feature has the task of following the folk procession and cramming the collected material.
In the afternoon, a fateful appointment in Piazza Umberto to win or “the asparagus” of Donna Concetta or “the roosters” of Don Neddu or “the wine” of Don Serafino, etc …; everyone waits for the article that annually buys a weight of gold, but we know the offer is for San Vito and everything is granted. The role of a crier has been played for many years by don Concetto Reina, “dei Sciavazza”; there is no devotee who does not buy something!
The party continues, after the evening mass, the statue of San Vito is brought in front of the main door of the Church, the band performs religious music and at the Via del Mastro party begin the traditional fireworks. The “final bass drum” gives the signal that the shots are over and that there are intonations of prayers and litanies until San Vito is near his sacellum. A waving of white handkerchiefs with the cry of “viva San Vito” accompany the statue in the short route until the mechanical door precludes it from the sight of the faithful.
A thousand emotions overwhelm the mind of devotees who already think they will be able to see San Vito the first Sunday of August.
In the “Registrum Litterarum 1632-33, n.51 …” we learn that the date of the first Sunday of August is approved to celebrate San Vito because “… for not being in this house that everyone is occupied for the seminary … “could not be held on June 15th.
Domenico Aiello in his book “For the story of Mascalucia – The Church of San Vito”, 1996: “… The feast of St. Vito fell on June 15, but given the particular moment of intense work in the countryside (especially those a seminerio), it was almost never celebrated on that date, because most of the inhabitants were absent from the country, so they had to anticipate the date of a few days or transfer it, as was usually done on the third Sunday of the month to allow everyone to take part in it.
In spite of the displacements that this day underwent, it fell too close to the one in which the “Plaghi (Gravina)” was celebrated, the patron saint of St. Anthony of Padua was celebrated. This caused considerable disagreement among the devotees of the two countries, which often resulted in clashes and fights, especially if the two dates were unfortunately to coincide.
Any means, then, was good to try to pass in second order the holiday of the nearby farmhouse, as when the master of Gravina’s work write to the Bishop that their was: “… party of Matrix et that (S .Vito) Chapel party … “.
Small disagreements occurred between the two Casali between the years 1622 and 1639, but fortunately those disputes were only color notes between the sacred and the profane of everyday life. But in 1639 Monsignor Branciforte decided to forbid for that year the external celebrations of the relative Patrons.
Notoriously the patronal festival is postponed with respect to the “dies natalis” of June 15th.
For more information: www3.comunemascalucia.it