Feast of Saint Agatha in August – Catania
17 August. The third religious feast most followed in the world.
The Feast of Saint Agatha is one of the most important religious feats in Catania and it’s the third religious feast most followed in the world. It’s celebrated twice a year: in February and on August 17.
The feast in August lasts only one day and it’s connected to the celebrations occured in the night of August 17 1226, when the remains of the saint were brought back in Catania from Costantinople (todays Istanbul) by the two soldiers Gisliberto and Goselmo.
The feast in August is smaller that the Feast of Saint Agatha in February, but every year it attracts many devotees and turists. The night of August 17 great fireworks color the sky starting from Catania’s harbour and from the church of Saint Placido, a real rarity.
Saint Agatha lived in the 3rd century. She was born in a patrician family in Catania and since she was young she dedicated her life to the christian religion. When she was noticed by the Roman governor Quirino, who desired her, Agatha escaped to Palermo in her mansion in the Guilla quartier. But Quirino found her and forced her to go back in Catania. Anyway, Agatha, even if she returned in Catania, continued to deny Quirino’s courting, who from love felt revenge, he started to prosecute Agatha that, after several tortures, died in prison. From her death, in February 5 251, she started being venerated by the majority of the population also by those of the pagan religion.
This ritual was diffused also outside of Sicily.