Today is the feast of St. Agatha, of Sicily, Virgin, Martyr.
"Every year on February 4 and 5, the men of Catania pull her relics, housed in a bejeweled life-sized effigy through the streets of Catania for two days and two nights, the duration of her martyrdom. It is said to be the second largest religious procession in the world, after the Corpus Domini procession in Cuzco, Peru, and rivals Holy Week in Seville, Spain. Catanians love Agatha like a sister, like a mother, like a girlfriend. Half the women here are named after her, but it is really a feast for the men, who have claimed the girl saint for their own. The citywide rite unfolds like a collective dream."
--Search for "Agatha" in Theresa Maggio's thrilling book, The Stone Boudoir: Travels Through the Hidden Villages of Sicily.
Click here and scroll down halfway for "some sights and sounds of the festa".
Click here for pictures of St. Agatha's effigy and of the huge "candelore" carried by the Fishmongers, the Greengrocers, the Butchers, the Makers of Pasta, the Vintners, the Bakers, etc.
Certo! Certo! Viva Sant'Agata! Viva Sant'Agata! O! Sant'Agata, la gloria!