Festival of Santa Lucia in Syracuse
The festivities in Syracuse in honour of Santa Lucia begin as early as the afternoon of 30 November with a band marching through the streets of the historic centre. On 9 December, the silver simulacrum of Santa Lucia is displayed in the chapel dedicated to her in the cathedral. On 13 December, the solemn procession of the relics and the silver simulacrum begins, crossing the city to reach the Basilica of Santa Lucia al Sepolcro.
The procession lasts several hours and is a solemn pilgrimage, followed by the devotees in procession shouting Siracusana jè! (She is a Syracusan). Many people, with lighted candles in their hands, make the barefoot procession as a sign of thanksgiving or to implore God's grace.
The simulacrum of Santa Lucia, escorted by twelve cilii, large wooden candelabras decorated with flowers, is followed by the Senate Carriage and the Procession, decked out in eighteenth-century style. Once in Piazza Santa Lucia, the procession is greeted by the sound of bells announcing its entrance into the church.
During the eight days in the Basilica, crowds of believers visit the Saint and the Martyr’s tomb, where the Relics are usually displayed. 20 December is the day of Santa Lucia’s return to the Cathedral: in another long procession and another throng of people, the Saint makes her first stop at the Basilica Santuario della Madonna delle Lacrime, and her second at the Umberto I Hospital, for a moment of prayer.
On arrival at Ponte Umbertino, the city greets the Saint with fireworks before she resumes her journey to the Cathedral, where she will make her entrance and return to her chapel.
It is truly evocative to experience this important moment together with the community so closely linked to the Saint’s life.