Saint John the Baptist in Acitrezza
In a few days, exactly on the 24th of June, there will be a big party in Acitrezza: the feast of St. John the Baptist. The village is already in anxious expectation, the streets are colored by lights and festoons and citizens look forward to this day
“U Pisci a Mari”: a living tradition since 1750
The life of Acitrezza is strongly linked to the sea: you can see it perfectly from the novel “I Malavoglia” by Verga and also from the feast of St. John the Baptist. The highlight of the festival is in fact the pantomine of the “U Pisci a mari“, a representation that every year attracts visitors from all over the world.
It is a propitiatory rite, a parody of swordfish fishing. Fishermen dressed in red and yellow gather in front of the mother church to invoke the Saint so that the catch is abundant. One of them, called “U Rais“, directs the fishing from the pier, wearing a straw hat, a red shoulder strap and carries a cane of fresh leaves in his right hand and an umbrella with his left. When U Rais sees the swordfish (represented by a skilled swimmer) he incites the sailors who, after several attempts, manage to catch it. But the fish manages to escape. U Rais then throws himself into the sea and catches the fish: after an exhausting fight the swordfish manages to escape definitively, while the sailors overturn the boat throwing themselves into the sea and cursing against bad luck.
This pantomime represents the struggle of the inhabitants of Acitrezza with the natural elements, necessary to survive in a land where the daily bread comes from the sea.
The 2019 edition of the feast of Saint John the Baptist
Acitrezza is in celebration since the first days of June, but you enter the heart of the festivities from June 21: from this day you can indeed participate in the procession of the Relic through the streets of Acitrezza. Day 24 will be performed the representation of the “U Pisci a mari”, followed by the procession of the simulacrum of the Patron Saint. In the evening you can attend the concert performed in Piazza Verga from the complex “City of San Gregorio di Catania” and around midnight, immediately after the return of the ferculum, you can admire the fantastic fireworks at the end of the festivities.
If you can not be in Sicily in June do not miss the opportunity to see the village of Acitrezza! Take part in our sailing tour: you will see the Faraglioni and the Natural Reserve of the Cyclops, you will have lunch on board our boat admiring a crystal clear sea and you can taste a delicious Sicilian granita! What are you waiting for?!