1624-2024, Palermo celebrates 400th Festival of Santa Rosalia

LONDON (UNITED KINGDOM) (ITALPRESS/MNA) – The press conference for presenting the 400th anniversary of the Feast of Santa Rosalia 1624-2024 took place at the headquarters of the Italian Cultural Institute in London, attended by the Mayor of the Municipality of Palermo, Roberto Lagalla.
This year marks the four-hundredth anniversary of the discovery of the miraculous remains of Santa Rosalia, the patron saint of Palermo city. The “Santuzza”, symbol of rebirth and hope, will be celebrated with a rich calendar of events and cultural initiatives which, starting from the month of May, will continue until the first months of 2025, animating the provincial territory of the Sicilian capital.
«This year Palermo is going to celebrate a journey that began in 1624 and today is making 400 years of history and traditions. It is going to be a busy year of celebrations dedicated to Santa Rosalia which, thanks to the active participation of the entire territory and institutions, will allow the tourist revival of the city with a renewed metropolitan internationally oriented identity. I wish to thank the director Francesco Bongarrà for allowing this prestigious institutional setting for the international presentation of the four- hundredth anniversary of the “Festino” and the National Tourism Agency. Palermo will express itself in all its beauty, through spiritual and cultural itineraries, showing the world its priceless historical and artistic heritage that winds through the Arab-Norman Route, a Unesco heritage, the period buildings – the favorite scenery of international film productions, and the spiritual paths that wind through the city streets and cross the entire provincial territory. Palermo will offer the tourists an unprecedented journey, unique for everybody, in an overall cheering atmosphere that will welcome visitors from all over the world since the upcoming months». So says the Mayor of the Municipality of Palermo, Roberto Lagalla.

The Municipality, together with the Metropolitan City of Palermo, presents a busy calendar of entertainment including shows, exhibitions, concerts, food and wine tours, conferences and spiritual paths through which the city of Palermo and its territory will express themselves to the visitors during the Rosalian Year. A multivoiced narrative that will pay homage to the priceless cultural, historical and landscaped heritage of Palermo, embraced by the sea and protected by Monte Pellegrino, where the Sanctuary of Santa Rosalia stands, a renowned pilgrimage destination for the faithful.
On May 26th, the new sculptural representation of the Saint will be shown, which will then be blessed and then placed back in the Cathedral, a moment that marks the start of the anniversary program of the Feast of Santa Rosaliàs 400th Anniversary.
The appointment with the tradition arrives finally on July 14th with “Il Festino di Santa Rosalia”: four stops in the heart of Palermo among images, music, evocative artistic performances dedicated to the “Santuzza” who parades aboard an allegorical chariot that is going to tell about” Hope” through new and highly attractive shows this year. Thousands of faithful and visitors come from all over the world every year to take part in the procession which begins its journey from Palazzo Reale, then stops in front of the Cathedral, crosses the Quattro Canti and reaches Porta Felice, where the final show takes place ending with the traditional fireworks. A solemn procession actually takes place the following day, on July 15th, along the Cassaro, just on the day of the discovery of the Santuzzàs mortal remains (on July 15 th 1624).The “Acchianata delle Rosalie” then takes place in the night between 3rd and 4th September along the “Scala Vecchia ” ( The Old Staircase) that leads from the feet of Monte Pellegrino to the Sanctuary of Santa Rosalia.
Also thousands of devotees gather to share a moment of prayer and celebration on this date.
All the initiatives to be put together in the program will be included on the official website: www.ilfestinodisantarosalia.it

MARCO BALICH, ARTISTIC DIRECTOR OF “IL FESTINO DI SANTA ROSALIA” – Biography Creative Director and Executive Producer of worldwide institutional events, with a record of 16 Olympic Ceremonies and 13 regional Games credits and several large-scale shows produced worldwide. Marcòs Olympic experience, which was honoured with an “Emmy Award” in 2006 and a “Compasso d’Oro” in 2017, began with the Salt Lake City 2002 flag handover, followed by the Turin 2006 Olympic ceremonies. Among others, he was involved in Sochi 2014 Olympic and Paralympic Games Closing Ceremonies, the Rio 2016 Olympic Ceremonies and the Fifa World Cup 2022 Ceremony in Qatar. These shows were broadcast to an average audience of 2.6 billion people. He covered the role of Artistic Director at the 2015 Milan Expo, where he created the iconic “Tree of Life”. In 2018, he created the revolutionary Superlive format, “Giudizio Universale, the Sistine Chapel Immersive Show”, the best-selling show in Italy that year, in collaboration with the Vatican Museums. In 2013, together with long-time partners Gianmaria Serra and Simone Merico, he founded Balich Worldwide Shows, today Balich Wonder Studio, sharing the ambition to introduce a new era in the live entertainment industry where true emotions are the driver of the creative narrative. As Chief Creative Officer of Balich Wonder Studio he embodies the role of leading inspirer and mentor of a multicultural and diverse team of highly talented Creators. His vision has been crucial to attract, recruit and raise some of the best professionals in the industry, making Balich Wonder Studio a unique playground for creative visionaries from all over the world.

The history of Santa Rosalia begins in the Palermitan court of the Norman kings. It is in this refined medieval environment, deeply imbued with Middle Eastern suggestions, that we meet for the first time the daughter of Sinibaldo, lord of Quisquina and of Roses, and granddaughter of King Roger himself on her maternal side.
The young woman is one of the queen’s bridesmaids and a wedding worthy of her rank takes shape in her future. A vision on the eve of the wedding urges Rosalia to retire to a convent and shortly afterwards, in search of a mystical life characterized by prayers and penance, she decides to go and live in a very small grotto on Mount Quisquina, in the family fiefdom. Soon word spreads and the local inhabitants begin to go and visit Rosalia being at first curious, then, recognizing her religious fervour, being moved by the hope that the young woman can include them in her prayers and intercede for them before God. Many people begin to consider her a saint and the number of people asking for her intercession grows so much that prevents her from dedicating herself fully to the adoration of God. So Rosalia moves to Monte Pellegrino, the great mountain that closes the gulf of Palermo to the north. When she dies, Rosalia is beatified by the population, but four centuries will have to pass before the Church gives an official follow-up.
In 1624 the city of Palermo is bent over by a frightening plague. The people continually turn to their patron saints and here Rosalia intervenes, revealing to a woman the place where her mortal remains are hidden.
The relics are recovered and brought to the city to be examined by a commission. A few months pass, Rosalia reveals herself again, this time to a soapmaker. He urges him to go to the Cardinal Giannettino Doria to invite him to stop “disputes and doubts” about the bones and to have them carried in procession. This way, upon the passage of the relics, the plague would cease. That first, miraculous procession has been followed by many others. Rosalia, also canonized by the Church for her intervention in favour of Palermo people, has entered the hearts of her fellow citizens.


Source: medNews