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Old celebrations and food festivals in Northeast Sicily

TORNEO DEL MAIORCHINO

The Carnival period is an excellent opportunity to take part to the Tournament of the Maiorchino, which takes place every year in Novara di Sicilia between January and February. The Maiorchino is a typical pecorino cheese of the area, and is the protagonist of a very special competition. 16 teams face each other along the way and have to roll a form of maiorchino to the finish, the maiorchino is launched via the “lazzada” that is wrapped around the shape to perform the launch. At the end of the race the festival can finally start and you will taste the Maiorchino and other delicious cheeses like the tuma and ricotta, enjoy your meal!

FESTA DEI GIUDEI

During the Holy Week, in San Fratello, there is the Festival of the Jews. This religious celebration is very old and dates back to the Middle Ages. It takes place on Wednesday, Thursday and Holy Friday, and as part of the rites of the Holy Week, is based on the re-enactment of the Jews who had brought Christ to Calvary. The costume set of the players has been unchanged for centuries and is made of a typical coat, red and yellow pants and a helmet with plume. The Jews invade the streets of the village to the sound of trumpets.

Festival of the Jews San Fratello

FESTA DEL MUZZUNI

On June 24, in Alcara Li Fusi there is the Festa del Muzzuni. The origins of this celebration are lost over the centuries and recall the pagan rites in honor of Mother Earth and of Aphrodite, Demeter, Dionysus and Adonis. Is considered one of the oldest festivals in Italy and is held every year for the summer solstice. The Muzzuni is a pitcher that represents fertility, and each district of the country relives one on an altar adorned with beautiful fabrics of many colors, made with antique looms. The festival is held with the procession of priestesses, the peasant songs and ancient poems.

GIORNATE MEDIEVALI

In June, in San Marco D’Alunzio there are the Medieval days, with the parade that hosts performers and groups from different towns of Sicily. During the show there’s the election of the Lady of the Castle, some scenes of medieval life are represented, and the days are enlivened by musicians and jesters, and flag-wavers’ performances.

FESTA DELLA TOSATURA

In June in Novara di Sicilia, more precisely in the hamlet of San Marco, there is the Festival of the Shearing. Shearing was a major holiday for the pastoral communities, and even today is an event that offers the opportunity to show genuine typical products such as cheeses, tuma and Maiorchino and fresh ricotta. Also other delicious dishes are served with sheep meat sauce and roasted sheep. Don’t miss the local wine at the end, enjoy the meal!

ALLA SCOPERTA DEL RE TARTUFO

In June, in Tortorici there’s an event called Discovering the King Truffle. In order to enhance the local truffles and make them known in other regions, they organize excursions in the surrounding woods where you can learn to look for truffles and recognize them. This is an excellent opportunity to discover the natural beauty of the place and spend a day in contact with nature.

OTTOBRANDO

In October, in the village of Floresta, there’s the Ottobrando. Every Sunday of the month they organize a different festival: the Festival of “Vasola a Crucchittu” (a bean soup), Black Pig of the Nebrodi Festival, the Mushroom Festival, Festival of chestnuts and apples, so guests can enjoy all the specialties of the area!


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