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Feasts represent one of the most important parts of Sicilian social life, mixing pagan myth, religious events and country fairs. The most celebrated feasts are Easter, Carnival, and the patron saints’ day.
Other events are:
- Palio dei Normanni in Piazza Armerina (Enna province), which commemorates the arrival of Roger II;
- Festival of Spiga in Gangi that goes back to ancient pagan rituals dedicated to the Goddess Cerere;
- Festival del Mandorlo in Agrigento and the Sagra della Ricotta in Vizzini.
The painted carts of Sicily (carretti) have been around for nearly two centuries. Once there were several thousands of them, carrying the products of the island and participating in its celebrations. The carts were fashioned from beautifully carved wood and intricately wrought metal. All visible parts were colorfully painted with religious, chivalric, historical, or other culturally symbolic designs and figures. They carried passengers, foodstuffs, wine barrels, minerals, and other cargo from place to place. Described as ungainly and awkward, they were pulled over less than satisfactory roads by horses, mules or donkeys decorated themselves in colorful harnesses and feathers.
The Sicilian Puppets Theater was defined “Masterpiece of the Oral Intangible Heritage of Humanity” by UNESCO. Sicilian puppets portray epic sagas, but scene dialogues are often improvised. Puppets (from the Latin pupus: little child) are the characteristic armored marionettes of the epic popular theater, brought probably from Spain of Don Quixote to Sicily, where it reached its full development. Italy boasts three main puppet schools, two of which are in Sicily: 1) Palermitan; 2) Catanese; and 3) Campanian. The puppets differ in their armor and dimensions. For example, Palermitan puppets are smaller and more mobile than the Catanese ones.