Feast of Saint Calogero
- Religious holiday
07/05/2019 - 07/14/2019
Saint Calogero, patron of the city of Agrigento together with Saint Gerlando, is particularly revered in the city of temples, which pays tribute to him with an eight-day feast. The feast program includes: the procession of the Saint’s palanquin carried on shoulders along the traditional route that goes from the Sanctuary of San Calogero (XIII-XIV century), which houses the wooden simulacrum, to Via Atenea; barefoot pilgrimages to the Saint’s Sanctuary; parades of "Sicilian carts" and musical bands; parades of characteristic drums across the streets; pyrotechnic shows (called "a maschiata di San Calò") and torchlight processions.
The feast is deeply felt among the citizens, who flock to greet the Holy Healer, who arrived in Sicily from North Africa between the 5th and 6th centuries to spread the Gospel message.
Many devotees try to get on the palanquin to hug and kiss the beard of the statue, and ask him the grace; even the children, who for the occasion wear white "dresses" are lifted to the statue as a sign of blessing or request for healing. At the passage of the palanquin, the devotees throw blessed bread to the statue, in memory of when, during the plague, the Monk Calogero went around the city feeding the needy people with the bread that the Agrigentines threw from the windows of their houses (they avoided going out because of the risk of infection). So, while it is carried in procession and the crowd loudly acclaims Viva San Calò, the simulacrum of the Saint is hit by a lot of bread thrown from the windows that, often, hit also palanquin bearers, devotees, band members and law enforcement officers in service.
During the feast, the city is illuminated in an extraordinary way and many cultural events take place; in the streets there are plenty of multicolored stands with all kinds of products, mainly confectionery, and street vendors who sell peanuts, pumpkin seeds and toasted peanuts. On the last day of the event there is also the “Exhibition” of horses, cattle, sheep, traditional and modern agricultural tools.