Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Festival of the Madonna: 2 Febbraio 2012

This was such a otherworldly experience! We just happened to be in the middle of it!
This annual event honors Maria SS. del Soccorso the patron saint of Sciacca.
"On the morning of the first of February 1626 all the saccense people got up very early and barefoot started their pilgrimage from the Mother church to St. Agostino Church to implore the liberation of the city from the plague. The day after, in the early afternoon the local sailors brought in procession throughout Sciacca the statue of the Madonna del Soccorso. When they got to a place called, 'Maestranza piccola' (today Licata Street) there was lightning in the sky and from the statue some smoke began to rise. In that same moment the plague ceased."
"...they bring in procession the marble simulacrum of the Madonna chosen as patron saint of Sciacca."
Every February 2nd, 100 barefoot fisherman carry the Madonna through the streets of Sciacca.

The doctor who helped us in Palermo find the bus was not carrying a banner with his brother. They were the ones who had the honor of reenacting the lightning and smoke part of the procession. We know this because we happened to see him on Sciacca TV the following night doing just that!
"Viva la Madonna"

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