Feast of Saint Lucia in Syracuse
- Religious holiday
It takes place on 13 December in Syracuse, where the young martyr Lucia was born and suffered martyrdom in the year 304 AC, at the time of the persecutions against Christians decreed by the emperor Diocletian.
Preceded by several religious initiatives that began 13 days earlier (the so-called "tredicina" which means 13), the feast officially begins in the Cathedral on 9th December, with the opening of the niche that houses the silvery simulacrum of the Saint (of seventeenth-century workmanship). In the morning of 12th, the simulacrum is moved from its niche to the main altar, while people shout "Sarausana jè" (She is from Syracuse). In the evening, after the celebration of solemn vespers, the "cuccìa", a typical dessert of the festival, is distributed to the devotees.
The main day of the festivities is on 13th, when the silver statue is carried on the shoulders by sixty men wearing a characteristic cap, from the Cathedral in Piazza Duomo, crowded with waiting devotees. The procession of the Simulacrum begins along the main streets of the city, accompanied by the festive sound of the bells. it is preceded by a "vara" , a small sarcophagus that houses the relics of the Saint, carried on the shoulders of women. The procession descends along the Aretusa promenade to cross, in the late afternoon, the "Porta Marina", where it can be attended one of the most moving moments of the day, that is the salute of sailor and soldiers from their ships. In the evening, the Simulacrum arrives at the Basilica of Saint Lucia at the Sepulcher where it will remain among the devotees, until 20th December (feast of eight), when the procession will continue through the City until the final return to the Cathedral, welcomed with the traditional fireworks display.
The festival is a great faith event in which ancient traditions are revived and which involves the whole city of Syracuse and thousands of tourists.