Carnival in Messina and Surroundings: Celebration, Tradition, and Taste!

Carnevale a Messina e dintorni

The tradition of Carnival in Sicily is very ancient, featuring masks, parades, allegorical floats, and typical sweets. It’s yet another reason to visit the island and immerse yourself in the festive atmosphere, amidst a riot of colors, joy, and masks.

Here are some interesting ideas for celebrating Carnival 2024 in Messina and visiting the most appreciated historical carnivals in the province.

In Messina, the three-day event begins on Saturday, February 10th, from 9:00 AM to 12:30 PM and from 3:00 PM to 6:00 PM at Piazza Cairoli with a flower display, while at 4:00 PM at Villa Dante, there will be entertainment for children with costumes and masks.

On Sunday, February 11th, starting at 4:00 PM, along the pedestrian island of Viale San Martino, you can witness a parade of masked groups, with animation performances by Latin Chic.

The parade continues on Tuesday, February 13th, also starting at 4:00 PM, and at the end of the evening, there will be an award ceremony for the masked groups at Piazza Cairoli, with entertainment and music.

In Cattafi, in the heart of the province of Messina, on February 11th, one of the oldest carnivals in Sicily takes place: the “Scacciuni”, with long cone-shaped hair, colorful clothes with a skirt, and a myriad of colored ribbons, parade in masks to reenact the expulsion of Saracen pirates by the old inhabitants.

In the small medieval village of Saponara at the foot of the Peloritani Mountains, on February 13th, Carnival is celebrated with the historical reenactment of the centuries-old Pantomime of the Bear and the princely court. The origins are linked to a legend that tells of a giant bear that terrorized the population in the 18th century. When Prince Alliata and his hunters managed to capture the bear, to celebrate the event, the bear was paraded in chains through the streets of the city as a trophy, followed by the hunters and his court.

In Santa Teresa di Riva, the carnival of the Ionian returns. Six allegorical floats and four masked groups will parade along the main street of the Ionian town on Sunday, February 11th, and Tuesday, February 13th, starting at 2:30 PM.

In Santa Lucia del Mela, don’t miss the Historical Luciese Carnival, unique of its kind and listed in the Register of Intangible Heritage of the Sicilian Region.

The highlight of the Carnival will be on February 10th, 11th, and 13th.

During these three days, there will be the spectacular parade of “I lapi i Cannaluari” (motor scooters decorated as allegorical floats) that will travel through the city center and end in the central Piazza Milite Ignoto where, on the three days, various artists will perform and where, on Tuesday, February 13th, immediately after dancing, there will be room for the historical part of the Luciese carnival “U Catalettu”, which has its roots in very ancient times.

The historical reenactment of “U Catalettu” will conclude with the death of Carnival, who, because of his greed, will die from eating too many fraviole. Immediately after, Carnival, taken by the “babbaluci,” will be placed on the Cataletto present in a prepared room, and visitors will be able to witness the vigil up close. Besides the “babbaluci,” there will also be the “cianci morto” women.

After the vigil, the funeral of Carnival will begin, accompanied by the funeral band, starting from Piazza Milite Ignoto and returning through some adjacent streets.

Finally, everything will be ready in the square to start the burning of Carnival, accompanied by music and dances, and will end with the classic fireworks that will conclude the festive period. During the three evenings, you can also taste the classic dishes of the carnival tradition, such as macaroni and fraviole.

In short, there’s a celebration for everyone!

Carnival in Messina offers a mix of tradition, joy, and good food, and Le Stanze is ready to welcome you.


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