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Feast of Saint Rosalia

Bring her bones through Palermo

Feast of Saint Rosalia, is a celebrations of the patron of Palermo in Sicily, the festival is held from the 1st until 15th of July. The feast is the main religious event dedicated to a female Sicilian historical figure.

There are also many other celebrations on the Island,for the honor of Saints Cristina, Ninfa and Olivia. Legend has it that she had been led to the cave by two angels; to mark her presence, she wrote on the wall that she has taken the resolution to live in this cave for the love of the Lord, Jesus Christ."

According to the sad legend, Rosalia was born in 1130 of a Norman noble family that claimed descent from Charlemagne, she was a very pious young lady, retired to live as a hermit in a cave on Mount Pellegrino, where she died back in 1166. No one knew anything about her demise, only in 1624, a horrible plague haunted Palermo, and during this hardship St. Rosalia appeared first to a sick woman.

Nearly 500 years after that she died, when Palermo was hit with a plague, Santa Rosalia hunted the man and told him to retrieve her bones ,Vincenzo Bonello, that was a man to whom she indicated where her remains were to be found. She ordered him to bring her bones through all the city.

The peak of the celebration is at the night of 14 July. The "Santuzza", it's a term by the locals to invoke her. Relics of Santa Rosalia are kept in a silver urn inside the city's spectacular Duomo, but on her feast day, along with a towering statue, they are carried through the streets of Palermo, as she wanted, on a large float that also supports musicians providing music.

The celebration is also an opportunity to enjoy the foods of the traditional specific Palermo's menu, and many others activities in the heart of Sicilian Capital. If you happen to be in the bustling southern Italian city around that time, though, you may simply hear talk of "u fistinu," as it is known locally.


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