|St. Agatha with breasts and palm of martyrdom.|
At the risk of burying the other articles on this busy day (see below) the Bear would be remiss in not recalling St. Agatha, his daughter's patron saint.
St. Agatha was a virgin who lived in the earliest centuries of Christianity in Sicily. She caught the eye of a Roman official, but rebuffed his demands. She was sent to a brothel for a time, but that did not change her mind. The official resorted to the cruelest of tortures that included rolling over pot sherds and hot coals, and amputation of her breasts. Eventually she expired under the abuse.
Catania celebrates the feast as throngs of people converge on the duomo, or cathedral. Some bear enormous candles as offerings. As a witness, with four small children to keep an eye on at the time, the Bear must admit to an impression of chaos, but presumably somebody knew what was going on. (That pretty much describes everyday life in Sicily, for that matter.) There are processions, and St. Agatha's reliquary bust is displayed. The atmosphere is both celebratory and electric as St. Agatha is celebrated as only Sicilians can celebrate a saint.