FESTIVITIES AND CUSTOMS
Saint Blaise's Feast Day on the 3rd February
The blessed votive bread in honour of Saint Blaise's of Sebaste is called cuddureddi. After the blessing, it is given out to eat and prevent sore throats.
Carneval in Valledolmo – the procession of allegorical carts and costumes (on the last Sunday and Tuesday of Carnival).Carnival is one of the most important and happiest events in Valledolmo. In the past, it was long-awaited by the young men and women who dreamed of meeting their prince charming. On the four Sundays before Shrove Tuesday, the families of young women gave dance parties in their houses. All youngsters were welcomed as long as they were presented by a mace-bearer who was known to the landlord and vouched for them. On the last day of Carnival, tables of food are prepared in the streets and macaroni with sauce and roasted sausages are offered to passers-by. At night, Carnival was either sentenced to death and hung or made to undergo an urgent operation after gulping down great amounts of pasta, sausages and wine. The farce ended at midnight with the agonizing death of the crapulent and the bells mourning his death. The Carnival of Valledolmo is a very old tradition. Today it takes place with its traditional parade of allegorical carts and masks prepared by local associations and groups. However, it has become similar to the ones in the rest of the country.
I Virgineddi Saint Joseph’s Feast Every year on Saint Joseph’s Day, the believers who intend to thank the saint for a granted grace, invite elderly people and children ( called Virgineddi) to sit and eat at a table filled of food and decorations ( called tavolata di S. Giuseppe). The tavolata (table) can be visited a few days before and on the morning of the feast day. Culinary specialities include “sfingi di San Giuseppe” (fried pastry puffs) and pane di San Giuseppe, fancy bread-sculpting designs made by the skilled housewives.
Easter – L’incontro (The Meeting) L’incontro (The Meeting) takes place in Via Cadorna on Easter Day. Local confraternities dressed in their traditional robes and carrying candles, the local band and people coming from the neighboring towns take part in the event. At the third trumpet blast at midday, the statues of Our Lady of Sorrow and of The Risen Christ, carried on people’s shoulders, run towards each other. When they get close, the black veil is taken from the Blessed Mother, so that the Mother and the Son can meet (incontro means to meet) and with great joy hug each other. All the church bells ring, the band plays and fireworks are set off. In the last decades, la calata degli angeli (the fall of the angels) has been added to the event: angels hold up by ropes and pulleys, express the believers’ joy to the Blessed Mother and The Risen Christ for the triumph over death. The traditional Easter sweets are: i pani da cena , biscuits with shortcrust pastry and cimino anise; Li pupi cu l’ova, biscuits with shortcrust pastry in different forms and with a cooked egg in the middle and Easter lambs made of sugar and marzipan.
Ascension Day - The blessing of horses and grass in Piazza Medici takes place in the morning to ensure the protection and health of horses who work in the fields. HOLY CROSS – 3rd May The feast of Santa Cruci is celebrated every year on 3rd May in the Chiesa del Calvario to thank the Holy Cross for the granted graces. Believers prepare breads in the forms of hands, feet, legs and face. They are then blessed and given out to the people.
Feast of St. Anthony Of Padua, patron saint celebrated on 18th August. The feast is sponsored by the local administration and a number of cultural, musical, entertaining and religious events take place (mass and procession in honour of the saint, confraternities, local band playing marches) in August.
Tomato Festival (third week of September on Friday, Saturday and Sunday)The festival aims at promoting the siccagno tomatoes of Valledolmo. It takes place in Piazza Purità in stands where different varieties of tomatoes are exhibited and it is possible to taste different dishes with tomatoes, tomato sauce, astrattu (tomato extract), together with typical local products. The festival ends with the traditional spaghettata. The red and juicy siccagno tomato is grown without watering (from siccu, dry in Sicilian). It is planted in summer in greenhouses in fields and only a few interventions are done to keep the soil moist and to weed the fields. No pesticides are used. The lack of irrigation and the particular climate of the territory of Valledolmo, with a high level of humidity also in summer, balance the evaporation-transpiration process, determine the thickening of the palisade tissues of the leaves and reduce the opening of the stomas: as a consequence, there is limited use of water. The production of siccagno tomatoes is one of the most important and stands out for good quality.
Grape Festival and Controlled Denomination Of Origin Wine Feast of Sclafani County on the first Sunday of October. Art exhibitions and the tasting of grapes and wine and other local products.
The Valledolmese Cuisine is typically Mediterranean. Its distinctive foods include olive oil, bread, pasta, cheese, legumes and aromatic herbs. These ingredients make savoury and genuine dishes of peasant culture. The agricultural and pastoral past has left a deep mark in local dishes, testifying an attachment to the land. Here are some of the most typical and characteristic dishes: - I favi a vugghiuneddu (boiled fava beans) and lu maccu (fava beans purée with wild fennel) eaten with pasta or bread and served with olive oil;- soups with all sorts of pasta and seasonal vegetables;- La frittedda, a dish served in spring and stewed with peas, artichokes, fava beans, onions and wild fennel;- I tagghiarini (=tagliatelli) made of just flour and water, served with ragù sauce made of astrattu (thick dry tomato paste), meat and sausage; - pani cunzatu warm bread baked in wood-burning ovens and seasoned with olive oil, oregano, grated cheese and salted sardines; it can be served with black and green olives, salted and fresh ricotta, dry sausage, spicy and salted lard or dry tomatoes;- faccia di vecchia, a popular focaccia ( a sort of white pizza topped with olive oil and pecorino cheese);- among the main courses, we can mention farsumagro ("false lean", meat roll with rich stuffing), braciuluna di cutina (pork skin rollups stuffed with bread crumbs, cheese and tomato sauce; castrato (barbecued mutton), stigghiole (roasted lamb intestines stuffed with aromatic herbs, onions and cheese).
Lacework and Embroidery
Lacework and embroidery are an art form which expresses local history, customs and the sensibility and feelings of women’s work. The marvelous art of embroidery, originally the noblewomen’s hobby, has been passed down from one generation to another; it describes a long history of passion and love for the beauty present in different places in Italy. In the past, this art developed thanks to use of dowry embroideries which were prepared in anticipation of marriage. Both mothers and daughters made everything they needed working on the lace pillow; rich families had other lace makers make their dowry. So the art of embroidering, between past traditions and present craftsmanship, represents a domestic but occasional activity in Valledolmo. Women’s underwear (as nightdresses), pillowcases and bed sheets are made and adorned with beautiful laces and tatting. Towels with laces or fringes, doilies in several patterns and lovely pieces of crochet embroidery embellish the house.