A sunny city
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SANTA ROSALIA FEAST
The feast is dedicated to the patron saint Rosalia. Since 1624 represents a unique event to which thousands of worshippers, curious people and tourists take part. The main city event takes place the night of the 14th July during which a solemn procession goes from the Norman Palace, continues along the ancient roadway of Cassaro and reaches the sea. The itinerary includes Porta Felice, according to an ideal path which goes from death (the Plague) to life (light).
During the procession, the triumphal chariot with the statue of the saint, pulled by oxen, stops in front of the cathedral, I Quattro Canti (a street) and the Marina. Here you can enjoy a great fireworks show accompanied by live symphonic music. During the celebrations you can taste typical dishes of the popular tradition of Palermo: Pasta with sardines, the so-called babbaluci (snails boiled with garlic and parsley), the sfincione (typical focaccia), the boiled octopus, the boiled cob and the watermelon. Each year a different theme on stage, maintaining as a starting point the history of victory over the plague.
One of the most prestigious Italian literary awards established in 1975 is the International Literary Prize “Mondello City of Palermo” . It was Francesco Lentini, judge and intellectual, (who took part to the prize until 2000, when he died), to bring together critics and men of culture, who gave impetus to this prize. Since the first edition the event had a vast echo in the world of culture also for the quality level of its jury, composed of critics from all over Europe. Among the authors awarded with Mondello prize are notable names, some of them nominated Nobel prize of Literature: Josif Brodsky, Doris Lessing, Günter Grass, Octavio Paz, José Saramago, John Maxwell Coetzee.
The feast has very ancient origins, so much that some people link it to ancient pagan cults and to the funeral banquet. Once it was common to all the Indo-European peoples; the “Sicilian Consulu” is an example. It was lunch offered by neighbours to the relatives of the deceased, after the burial. According to the tradition of Palermo during the Dead Feast the parents hide in the most unusual points of the house candies and toys. Children are taught that they had been brought as a gift by the souls of the deceased relatives. Usually the boys received weapons, while the girls dolls, strollers, kitchens and cookware. Rich people used to donate new tricycles and bicycles. However it was necessary to remember hiding the grater the night before, because it was thought that the dead would have scratched the feet of those who misbehaved.
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