The Saint Barbara Feast

Saint Barbara Day is celebrated December 4 every year in the Sicilian town of Paterno on the slopes of Mount Etna volcano. There is a parade after which the nativity scene is erected. Saint Barbara is the town’s patron saint and the protectress of firemen and firework makers. She has been called upon many times as protection against Mount Etna’s eruptions.

The Feast of Santa Barbara, the patron saint of 50,000 person city and of those who handle guns and explosives is held the first week of December to honor the saint who saved the city from destruction during fires, storms, eruptions of nearby Mount Etna, and, back when the festival first began, the Bubonic Plague.

The celebration begins on the first of December and continues for a week, but the big day is December 4, St. Barbara’s formerly designated day (she was one of the saints removed from the Catholic Calendar by the Vatican in 1969 because of doubts about her existence and tale). Paterno’s festival continues, though, and has been held since the 16th century, when Santa Barbara appeared in a dream to a Benedictine nun in quarantine, and the nun begged her to save the city. Once the prayer was answered and the city was saved from the epidemic, Santa Barbara was named Paternò’s co-patron saint along with San Vincenzo.

Along with the emotional religious ceremony and procession, the modern celebration includes sporting and musical events, and, perhaps the biggest draw of all, a spectacular fireworks display set to music. It is a real delight to witness these celebrations, especially while you are on a holiday in Italy during the month of December. It is a good idea to hire a car to go around in Paterno and witness these festivities and fireworks. car-rental-italy has come up to facilitate all the tourists to provide them an easy, less pricy commuting options within Italy to help them enjoy a hasslefree vacation.

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