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ITALIAN HOLIDAY CUSTOM

THE FOLLOWING IS TYPICAL OF SMALL TOWNS AND CITIES IN SICILY:
EACH TOWN HAS A FAVORITE SAINT AND A SHRINE OF ADORATION IN CHURCH
WITH A STATUE OF THE SAINT. ON THE PARTICULAR DAY SET ASIDE FOR
THE SAINT, EVERYONE IN THE TOWN CELEBRATES, NOBODY WORKS ON THIS DAY.
THEY HAVE A PARADE WITH THE STATUE BORNE ON A BIER AND A RELIC OF
THE SAINT, CARRIED BY THE CLERGY, WITH A SPECIAL BLESSING FROM THE
POPE ADMINISTERED TO ALL PRESENT. AS THE STATUE AND RELIC PASSES
THE PEOPLE WILL KNEEL AND SAY THE SAINT'S SPECIAL PRAYER.
RIGHT AFTER THE RELIGIOUS CEREMONIES THE FESTIVITIES BEGIN--SUCH AS
GROUPS SINGING, GROUPS DANCING, FIREWORKS, HORSE RACING WITHOUT
RIDERS, AND GYMNASTICS AND FEATS OF STRENGTH FOR PRIZES. ALL
PRIZES ARE DONATED BY TOWNSPEOPLE.
THE THEME OF THIS DAY, IN REALITY, IS LOVE OF GOD AND MAN AS
EXEMPLIFIED BY THE SAINT. ALL ANIMOSITIES SHOULD END ON THIS DAY.
ANYONE KNOWING OF ILL-FEELING AMONGST INDIVIDUALS, WILL ON THIS DAY,
BRING THE PARTIES TOGETHER AND IF ONE OR BOTH OF THE PARTIES
INVOLVED REFUSES TO MAKE UP, IT IS CONSIDERED AN INSULT TO THE
TOWN AND THE INDIVIDUAL THAT BROUGHT THE PARTIES TOGETHER.
THE CONCILIATORS ARE USUALLY THE CLERGY OR TOWN DIGNITARIES.
THESE FEAST DAYS BEGIN EARLY IN THE MORNING AND LAST TILL MIDNIGHT.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DEARBORN

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Typical Elements of a Festive Pattern
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Fixed DateFor specific dates, use the following system:
BELIEF -- Religious hero

Date learned: 11-30-1971

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