Traditions of Palermo
Palermo is a city rich in very special traditions!
1) The 1st of November is a national holiday in Italy, known as Tutti i Santi or Ognissanti, which celebrates all saints and is followed by All Souls Day on the 2nd of November, a day devoted to honor loved ones who have passed away. In Sicilian, this is known as “U juornu re muorti”. Children wake up hoping to find a treat from relatives not yet forgotten.
2) The feast of Santa Lucia, patroness of Syracuse is celebrated December 13th and legend tells that the people of Palermo exhausted by hunger begged the Saint for the arrival of a shipment of grain. The story goes on to say that Santa Lucia delivered the grain but the people were so famished they boiled and ate it instead of taking the time to make bread. This began the tradition of eating grain cooked in many ways both sweet and savory each December 13.
3) March 19, the Feast & Flames of San Giuseppe (St. Joseph), which honors the patron saint of fathers, immigrants, workers, unborn children and a happy death. This is a feast of some really wonderful things like fried artichokes and zucchini, chicken cutlets, and various bread and pastries but the star of the day is the sfinci (or sfingi, the singular is sfincia).., fried pastry puffs capped with candied citrus and crushed pistachios and filled rich ricotta cream. In the evening in the narrow streets of Palermo old furniture and junk are set aflame to make bonfires to honor St. Joseph and to symbolically burn away the misery of the past year.
4) The fireworks, an antique tradition which commenced in Palermo from the year 600 and up until today ,its spectacular nature is still manifested during the festive and celebrations of Saint Rosalia on the night of 14th July. The Saint is again celebrated on the 4th of September with a Pilgrimage walk to the Sanctuary on the’’ Mount Pellegrino’’