Sicilian Holy Week – Settimana Santa e Pasqua 2016

Some of you may already know, but I went to Sicily last month – travelled around during Holy Week and Easter. That was my fourth trip to the island, and I had already seen a lot. The purpose of visit this time was to see the religious traditions of Holy Week.

In Sicily, various towns and villages celebrate the week in their own ways, and there revive very ancient and picturesque traditions: procession with religious symbols is one of them. I planned a tight itinerary so that I could observe as many festivities as possible.

Palermo – (Selinunte : one day trip from Palermo) – Caccamo – Enna –  Trapani -(Favignana, Marsala : quick visits from Trapani) – Palermo – (Cefalù : one day trip from Palermo)

I took hundreds of photos, and have so many things I want to write here, esp. food stuff 😀 – put on 2 kg during the trip 😦   – so this is a digest of the trip, and I will post more details later on.


Palermo – St Joseph’s Day (19th March 2016)

The first one was Festa di San Giuseppe, or St Joseph’s Day on 19th March. St Joseph is the patron saint of Sicily. Actually, the festa is not a part of Holy Week, but it fell on just before Palm Sunday this year, so I luckily witnessed the event – St Joseph’s Bonfire the night before St Joseph’s Day.

A Sicilian friend mentioned the fire is a symbol of coming of spring, and I learnt that St Joseph’s day brings the hope of spring and a break from Lent for Sicilians. Just thought it might be a pagan origin like the bonfire of the eve of All Saints’ Day, i.e. All Hallows’ Eve or Halloween.

And also, it probably comes from Joseph’s profession as a carpenter. In Spain, ‘carpenters and woodworkers clean out their shops and burn all the wood scraps on the evening of the patron’s feast.’

 St Joseph's Day
Vampa di San Giuseppe, or St Joseph’s bonfire in Palermo

And enjoyed Sfincia too.

Sfincia di San Giuseppe – fried pastry puffs filled with ricotta cream for St Joseph’s Day

Just wondering if Sfincia, Krapfen/Pfannkuchen and Sfganiyah have the same origin?????



Tried Selinunte this year as I saw the archaeological site at Agrigento in 2012. Segesta maybe next time.

The Temple of Hera
Temple E, or the Temple of Hera at Selinunte (c. 650 BC)


Caccamo – Palm Sunday (20th March 2016)

U Signuruzzu a Cavaddu
U Signuruzzu a Cavaddu on Palm Sunday in Caccamo
Palm Fronds
palm fronds for Palm Sunday


Enna – Holy Monday (21st March 2016)

Holy Monday Procession
Procession of the Confraternity of Our Lady of Visitation in Enna



Made a quick visit to the island – about 30 min hydrofoil journey from Trapani.

Cala Rossa, Favignana
Cala Rossa, Favignana


Marsala – Holy Thursday (24th March 2016)

Holy Thursday Procession
Holy Thursday Procession in Marsala


Trapani – Good Friday (25th March 2016)

Processione dei Misteri
Processione dei Misteri in Trapani
Statue of the Mysteries
One of Jesus statues of the Mysteries


Palermo & Cefalù – Easter (27th March 2016)

Pasqua seemed very quiet and nothing special other than going to church.  Just a day to spend with family?

Agnellini Pasquali
Agnellini Pasquali – marzipan lambs for Easter

One of my favourite places in Sicily. Lots of people were enjoying the sun and the beach on Pasqua.

Cefalù – one of ‘Cinema Paradiso’ locations: Elena’s apartment, outdoor cinema scenes