Arts & Culture

Watching the Fisherman’s Feast in Sciacca, Sicily Versus Boston’s North End [Videos]

The Society of Madonna del Soccorso di Sciacca in Boston and the Cultural Councillor of Sciacca, Sicily recently announced a February 2014 visit by the North End’s Fisherman’s Club to Sicily with the Boston replica statue of Madonna. In Sicily, the procession is twice a year, in February and August. This year’s Fisherman’s Feast in the North End will be held on August 15-18, 2013.

The following video shows what the Boston group is likely to experience during their visit. This video is from February 2013 by Stefano Soldano of the procession in Sciacca, Sicily.

The Boston statue is a replica of the the one in Sciacca, although the Sicilian statue is much heavier and carried by dozens of barefoot carriers (see 6:24 in the video).  A highlight is at 20:00 in the video with Ave Maria being sung before the statue of the Madonna returns to the church. Also notice there is no money on ribbons in the Sicilian procession which is an American custom.

Translation of the Sicilian video description:

The Feast of the Madonna del Soccorso is a key event for each Saccense and also for all those who have emigrated abroad. The Madonna del Soccorso is the patron saint of the city of Sciacca in 1626, the same period that the miracle of deliverance from the plague of Saccensi. The sculpture was constructed between 1503 and 1504 by the master and Bartolomeo Giuliano De Almanchino Birritaro. The high statue came to Sciacca, by sea, in October of 1504 and placed in the church of S. Barnabas. In 1753, it was placed in the church of St. Augustine and in 1800 by the will of the people was placed in the main church where it remains today.

Every year on February 2 and August 15 the Virgin is carried in procession, shoulder and barefoot, from sailors Saccensi launches in a seventeenth-century adorned with gold jewelry, silver and coral donated by devotees. In August 1996, a statue of the Madonna del Soccorso was placed on the east pier where the sailors are advised before leaving for a fishing trip. For the care and the decoration of the Sanctuary deals with the association “Daughters of Mary.” On August 15, 1907, the statue was crowned by the Decree of the Vatican Chapter.

In February of each year, all Saccensi continue the procession to commemorate the so-called miracle of the Madonna and renew the promises and faith in the Patroness of the city. Ave Maria sung by the tenor Roberto Palminteri. Images shot and edited in HD by: Stefano Soldano

For comparison, shown below are videos from the August 2012 Fisherman’s Feast in Boston’s North End.

The famous “Flight of the Angel,” grand finale of the Fisherman’s Feast:

Procession of the Madonna del Soccorso di Sciacca from the Fisherman’s Club through the streets of the North End:

Blessing of the Fisherman’s Waters on Opening Night with a short procession to Christopher Columbus Park and Boston Harbor:

See FishermansFeast.com for more information on this year’s feast, August 15-18, 2013.

2 Replies to “Watching the Fisherman’s Feast in Sciacca, Sicily Versus Boston’s North End [Videos]

  1. I love it. My grandfather and grandmother were from Sciacca and we visited there a while ago. My grandfather
    immigrated to NYC but his brother immigrated to Boston.

    I’ll be sure to share this with my cousins and one remaining uncle.

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