Sant’Agata 2013 Catania, Sicily

Saint Agatha Catania
In ‘Borgo’ the huge candles have almost burned out. Rivers of wax form on the pavement.
This year the Sant’Agata festival came upon me with less drama, as I already expected it to be dynamic, overwhelming and exotic. It certainly did not fail to meet its high expectations. Now days later all that remains are forgotten morsels of wax which stick to the tyres of Catania’s impatient motorists.

Below are a selection of images I took from the festival. They were taken on the 5th of February, the most important day of the celebrations, when the saint’s relic is taken from the cathedral in Piazza Duomo and completes a long journey through the city.

The full itinerary is: Piazza Duomo, via Etnea, via Coronda, Piazza Cavour, back along via Etnea to via Sangiugliano and finally via Crociferi. It leaves Piazza Duomo at around 5pm and arrives at via Crociferi sometime after 8am the next morning.

Sant'Agata Catania - John P Brady

As the procession slowly makes its way up via Etnea, huge crowds of people wait on both sides of the road. This young man is trimming the wick of his candle before continuing his journey to Piazza Cavour (known locally as Borgo).

Sant'Agata Catania John P Brady

After a short rest these men pick up their huge candles with difficulty, and continue their journey northwards up the hill to Piazza Cavour.

Sant'Agata Catania John P Brady

This picture shows the extent of the crowding. Young and old, male and female, follow along in the procession which can be tightly compressed. It is all the more impressive when you consider that it lasts for over 15 hours!

Sant'Agata Catania John P Brady

The streets are covered on both sides by stalls selling everything from sweets and nuts to beer and paninos.

Sant'Agata Catania John P Brady

The procession on via Etnea. The man on the left of the photo is accepting candles from the crowd, which are then burned either side of the relic.

Sant'Agata Catania John P Brady

Young men, tired after carrying their candles for several hours, rest with friends in the candle glow.

Here is a short video of the procession:



John P Brady writes fiction, articles and a blog about life in Italy, where he has chosen to make his home.  His first book, a collection, entitled Back to the Gaff has been recently published by Roadside Fiction.  It concerns the wild happenings in Dublin by night and documents the attitudes of the youth in modern Irish society.  Keep up to date with his writing by subscribing:


And on social media:




Back to the Gaff

Scandalous Narratives of Contemporary Ireland

Dublin, Ireland, Irish writing, short stories

Back to the Gaff is a book by new author John P Brady, which describes the excessive and outrageous nature of Irish night life. Meet an array of eccentric individuals who populate the bars of Dublin, living lives of decadence and abandon. Their frolics inevitably lead to a trip ‘back to the gaff,’ which in Dublin-speak means gravitating towards someone’s place of residence where the depravity continues.

Ebook and Paperback available: 




John P. Brady is an Irish writer, Financial Trader and occasional journalist.  He divides his time between Ireland and Italy.  His interests include travel writing, social comment and eccentric debauchery. His first book, Back to the Gaff, described as "Trainspotting meets Dubliners" is available. Buy the ebook

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *