The Procession of the Patronal Festival
Madonna del Soccorso
Sciacca is one of the biggest town in the province of Agrigento and it is one of the most beautiful destination in Sicily, with its traditions, ceramics, it’s wonderful sea, monuments and characteristic churchies. In Sciacca, there are a lot of important events, one of the most famous and loved by this little town, is the Procession of “Madonna del Soccorso”, Patroness of Sciacca that is celebrated twice a year, in the Storic Center, recalling a past event in which, during a procession, Madonna has healed the town of the plague in 1626.
The Patronal Festival is so loved by the people of Sciacca and it is celebrated twice a year, the first time is in the 2nd of February – after the vote done by the barefoot faithful on the previous day – and the second celebration is in August Bank Holiday. The statue of the Madonna is carried on shoulders by dozens of barefoot sailors, that always they demonstrate in this way the faith and passion to the Patroness.
The statue is 1.65, weighs 7 tons, and it is said that was arrived in Sciacca by sea, in October 1504 and collocated into the Church S. Barnaba. Then it was moved into the Church S. Agostino in 1753, and in ‘800, by will of the people, it was displaced into the Mother Church, where it currently remains.
One of the most suggestive legend of this traditional procession is the “fumata bianca” (white smoke) , a miracle that has happened in February of 1626, in which, suddenly, there was a lightning into the clear sky, and from the base of the statue there was a dense white smoke that had bathed the faithful.
It is said that, from this moment, the town was saved of the plague and, to recall this miracle, every year, Sciacca repeats the white smoke, in the same place where has happened the miracle during the procession in ‘600.