Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows
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Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows




Technical sheet prepared by: Region of Sicily - Department of cultural heritage and Sicilian identity - CRicd: Regional center for inventory, cataloging and documentation and Sicilian regional film library

N. Prog. 83
Good: Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows
Book: REI - Book of celebrations
Approval date: 13-04-2007
Category: Party / Ceremony
Province: Syracuse
Municipality: Palazzolo Acreide
Local denomination: Most Holy Addulurata
Chronological News: The cult linked to "Our Lady of Sorrows" dates back to the Middle Ages, when a Monastic Congregation developed the cult of the "Virgin of Sorrows" in the Iblean city who, through the death of her "Son", helps disadvantaged and needy people during difficulties.
Recurrence: Annual
Date: Third Sunday of September
Occasion: The "Madonna Addolorata" of Palazzolo Acreide is carried in procession during Holy Week (Thursday and Good Friday) in a very sober event. The real "party" takes place on the third Sunday of September.
Function: Devotional
Actors: Bearers of the fercolo, naked children, barefoot women in procession behind the fercolo.
Participants: Municipal authorities, porters' brotherhood, devotees, local community, tourists
On Saturday, the evening of the eve of the feast, the simulacrum of the Madonna is unveiled from the place where it is kept to the cry of invocation of the devotees, while on Sunday morning, after the solemn Holy Mass, the simulacrum is placed on the shoulder and at 13,00 the Madonna makes her triumphal “Sciuta ri iornu” from the church of S. Antonio Abate. At the sound of the "Magnificat" the Madonna, carried on the shoulders by devotees, slowly leaves the church amid the prayers of the faithful and a great explosion of colors welcomes her: a dense rain of papers and "nzareddi" (multicolored strips of paper shot in the air from low-caliber charges) fall in front of the churchyard and on the roof of the houses, while the numerous deafening fireworks start from behind the church. The procession goes first to the central square of the town, just in front of the great Basilica of San Sebastiano, to end in the Basilica of San Paolo, first passing for a rest stop inside the Annunziata church. This procession puts a strain on the porters and pilgrims (especially the barefoot ones), but the faith towards the "Mammuzza" is stronger than any pain and fatigue and, strengthened by the "Vow for Received Grace", they walk barefoot or lead to "Spadda nura ”(meaning“ bare shoulder ”) the simulacrum of the Madonna. After a festive afternoon spent among stalls and pilgrimages to the Mother Church to honor Our Lady of Sorrows, around 19 pm there is the second Solemn Mass. Immediately after, the Madonna leaves the Basilica of St. Paul for the solemn evening procession, but no longer carried on the shoulder but on a triumphal chariot. Late at night, the Madonna makes her solemn entry into her church after a large fireworks display nearby due to lack of space in front of the churchyard. Then the revered simulacrum is veiled in his "room", amidst the cries and tears of emotion of the devotees who detach themselves from their "Blessed Mother".
The Procession goes around part of the historic districts and part of the suburbs with a long tour that ends late at night. Precisely in the suburbs (especially at Viale Dante Alighieri), the "Madonna Addolorata" is greeted by some faithful with firecrackers, torches, "flares" and "fountains" (fireworks that when lit give an intense waterfall of multicolored light) and small fireworks, demonstrating the love of the people of Palazzolo towards the pyrotechnic games. When the Procession arrives at Largo Palazzolesi d'Australia (23.00 pm - 24.00 am), the fireworks display begins, considered as one of the longest, most intense and above all as the most beautiful in the entire Province of Syracuse. Half an hour of large-caliber multicolored artificial fire lights up the entire city of Palazzolo Acreide and the long sequence of artificial fire is audible and visible even from several kilometers away. The fires explode in the sky worthily greeting the "Madonna Addolorata" to the amazement of the tourists as well as the Palazzolesi themselves.
Card Author: Salvatore Gambacurta
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