Our territory is rich in customs! The different popular traditions and customs originate from the many and various populations that lived here.
Initially the Greeks, then Romans, Arabs, Normans, Angevins and eventually, the Spaniards.
Even though these populations belong to the past, their “cultural worlds” still exist nowadays.
In Gela, the Greek culture still exists thanks to the doric column, the Timoleonte walls and the precious archaeological museum. In Niscemi the ancient Roman world still exists with the Archaeological Area of Calvisiana and the annual fires on the 18th of March.
The Arabs can be “found” in Butera, to which they gave the name making it one of the most important caliphates of Sicily. In Mazzarino, the famous Castle tells a bit of the Roman-Byzantine history; in Licata, the Holy Week makes a bit of Spain live again.
In conclusion, in this corner of Sicily, you can just close your eyes, give freedom to your imagination and run across the time, re-living the big history.
Religious and popular festivals
San Giuseppe ( Saint Joseph)
Sicilians consider Saint Joseph the main patron saint of the family. It opens the cycle of the spring festivals and, besides that, this event is characterized by public and private rituals loved by the local population, such as the preparation of amazing altars and small booths to his honour.
Two of the most beautiful celebrations are those occurring in Gela and Niscemi.
Some days before the festival, many families dedicate themselves to the preparation of amazing altars, on which they put some statues and pictures of Saint Joseph.
They are garnished with flowers, twigs of laurel oaks, myrtle, oranges and votive bread.
The bread (especially the one from Gela) has an important holy meaning connected to the symbolisms of the nature. The same meticulous preparation is required for the big tables, whose dishes include fruit and vegetables typical of the spring season and other local food.