One of the most important events with ancient and deep roots
The feast of St. Joseph in Scicli is one of the most important events, with ancient and deep roots, characterized by many different moments related to tradition, including the famous bonfires. These bonfires were made in every neighborhood, around them people gathered to celebrate the saint and moments of conviviality
The tradition of bonfires as a propitiatory rite originates from the region’s ancient agricultural customs, where farmers burned straw and brushwood to prepare the fields for the new harvest. It then moved to the city’s neighborhoods as well. Today there are far fewer bonfires, but the tradition of spending the evening in neighborhoods around a rudimentary barbecue remains.
It is the traditional ride that makes this extraordinary festival truly unique. It is the harnessed horses, with drapes covered in flowers, particularly from the violacea, that make this festival fascinating and unique.
The horses, formerly used to pull the plow, are adorned with floral patterns that are true works of art, arousing the great curiosity of visitors and tourists. Horses are carefully prepared, brushed and cleaned to make sure they are flawless for the occasion. The fresh flowers are then carefully selected and attached with thread, as tradition dictates, or with hot glue for the more modern, creating elaborate floral designs that cover the horses from head to legs.
The parade that excites
Preparing the harnessed horses requires a lot of patience and care, but the end result is a breathtaking sight. For the past few years it has also been possible to witness the making of the coats. The horses, completely covered in flowers, look like magical, enchanted creatures, bringing with them an air of celebration and joy.
They parade through the city streets, ringing cowbells, creating a unique and engaging atmosphere for residents and visitors.
But St. Joseph’s Day is also a great manifestation of popular culture, tradition and folklore.
The festival takes place annually on the weekend of March 19, the feast day of St. Joseph, the putative father of Jesus, with the culmination of celebrations taking place on Saturday and Sunday. During this occasion, Scicli is transformed into a large stage where Sicilian colors, sounds and traditions come together in a festive atmosphere.
The St. Joseph Feast Day program is very busy and includes many events and activities. During the days many horses, harnessed and unharnessed, will parade through Scicli.
The festival begins on Friday, March 17.
At 5 p.m. is the St. Joseph Accordion Festival, held at Palazzo Spadaro, featuring masters Natalino Scaffidi, Gianni Amore and Rocco Cannizzaro and the participation of Pietro Scardino.
Also on Friday, March 17, Italy Square will be the star venue: the “Piazza dei Prodotti Enogastronomici,” the food and wine stand organized by the Association Gli Amici di Giorgione, will be inaugurated, where it will be possible to taste the typical dish “U Piattu ri San Giuseppi” and the famous “Zeppole di San Giuseppe,” and the Folk Group “La Zammara” will perform. The evening will conclude with the Accordion Concert. You can also visit the workshops where the floral trappings are prepared, with APS Tanit Scicli.
On Saturday, March 18, the event promises to be a very special event for all fans of culture, music and gastronomy.
The opening of the “Food and Wine Square” is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. at Italy Square. Afterwards, at 10:30 a.m., there will be a guided walk through Scicli’s historic center, organized by APS Tanit Scicli, to admire the city’s most important historic sites and learn more about local culture and traditions.
From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Italy Square will host an Acoustic Jam, a musical event in which many artists will participate.
Saturday afternoon continues at 4 p.m. with the Folkloric Parade through the historic center.
Saturday, March 18, 6 p.m. the Ride
At 6 p.m., the Cavalcade of St. Joseph will begin, with the presentation of the trappings groups and the parade for the “Best Couple in Sicilian Dress Award” at Italy Square. The harnessed horses, together with the trappers, will parade through the streets of the town, scheduled to depart at 8:15 p.m. from Piazza Italia with the destination being the Church of St. Joseph, where the award ceremony for the City of Scicli Trophy will take place at 10:30 p.m.
On Sunday, March 19, along St. Joseph Street, from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., horse trappings, as well as “filari” cowbells, Sicilian clothing and accessories related to the tradition of horseback riding will be on display.
At 9:00 a.m. there will be a collection of gifts to be banished during St. Joseph’s Supper. At 9:30 a.m. the “Food and Wine Square” will open in Italy Square.
At 12:30 p.m. there will be an award ceremony for the St. Joseph Ride 2023.
Exhibitions and cultural activities
From March 13 to March 20, there will be an exhibition of mini papier-mâché trappings made by devotees, at St. Joseph’s Church.
On March 18, there will be a painting exhibition along St. Joseph Street, and from March 13 to 17, a workshop for schools, organized by the Association Gli Amici di Giorgione and APS Tanit Scicli, will be held at the hall of St. Joseph’s Church to raise awareness of the tradition of the St. Joseph’s Cavalcade.
The feast of St. Joseph in Scicli is an opportunity to celebrate Sicilian tradition and culture, as well as to have fun and enjoy local delicacies. A celebration that involves the entire community by conveying a love for their history and roots.