May, second half: TROFEO FLORIO. The Historical Rally known as the “Trofeo Florio” is part of the European Historic Sporting Rally Championship and the Italian Rally Trophy. Participating teams come not only from Italy, but also from France, Germany, Czech Republic, Norway, Switzerland, and the United States. Furthermore, some members of the famous “English Historic Motor Racing” club also take part, including the well-known collector Jason Stuart Wright. The rally finishes on the city’s G. Giardina seafront road.
The Festival of the Holy Spirit is focused on the Sacred Image conserved in the sanctuary of the same name; it is immensely important for locals as the Holy Spirit is also the town’s protector. The origin of the festival is ancient, and is also part of the area’s folk tradition. It is celebrated on the Monday following Pentecost with a religious service in the morning and a solemn procession in the afternoon, when statues of the saints are carried on the congregation’s shoulders from the Mother-Church to the Sanctuary at the foot of the village. As the procession passes the other churches in the town, more statues (around 35) join the procession. Once the Sanctuary is reached, the famous Cursa di Santi (“Running of the Saints”) or Miraculi takes place in the square just infront, before the statues enter into the church and pay homage to the Holy Spirit
Every year on the 3rd of May the town holds a festival in honour of SS. Crocifisso in the splendid Church of S. Maria La Porta (which contains works by Gagini, by Novella, and a precious Byzantine fresco), where a magnificent 17th century wooden cross is displayed. The festival is predominantly religious, free of any folkloristic references, and is preceeded by eight days of prayers of penance. On the morning of the 3rd of May the faithful take votive candles from the Benedictine Monastery and attend Mass in the Church of S. Maria La Porta alongwith the clergy, the confraternities, civic and military authorities. Around midday the statue of Christ emerges from the Church on the shoulders of the congregation, barefooted and with crowns on their head. The procession winds through the town’s streets. Up front are the confraternities, followed by the candle-holding faithful, the Crucifix, the clergy, and the authorities with the rest of the congregation. As each firecracker goes off the children infront of the Crucifix, walking backwards with barefeet and crowns on their heads whilst whipping their shoulders with a cord, kneel and shout "Pani e paradisu, misercordia Signuri" (“Bread and Paradise, forgive us Lord”). At the end of the procession blessed bread is distributed to the congregation
For the Santissimo Crocifisso (Most Holy Cross), from the first to the fourth of May, Polizzi Generosa celebrates A Scinnuta du Signuri and Furriata du Patri Nuastro, though the festive spirit begins eight days earlier, at the beginning of the ottavario (the eight day period that can follow a liturgical event in Catholicism). During this period the faithful dedicate a devotional trip to the Santissimo Crocifisso, reciting “I believe” (“credo”) thirty-three times; amongst them are those who decide to undertake u viaggiu o Signuri (“the trip of the gentlemen”) with bare feet to fulfil a vow or ask for grace. The festivities begin on the 1st of May when a Scinnuta du Signuri: il Crocifisso (a precious work by Francesco Gallusca, of the school of Fra’ Umile of Petralia) is taken from its chapel and brought to the small villa next to the Church of the Carmine (Chiesa del Carmine), home to the simulacra of the Most Holy Cross. A brief procession then brings the statue to some hazelnut trees (until a few decades ago the principle source of income for Polizzi’s families), where the priest blesses the fields. When this is over the statue is taken back to the church and placed on the main altar. In the afternoon the bread which will be given to the faithful over the coming days is blessed in the casa del dipusitariu. During the late evening of the following day there is a penitential procession: a “small” simulacra of the Crucifix is carried around the streets of the village according to an established itinerary; then, just before dawn, the celebrations of the third of May begin. At four o’clock in the morning the a Furriata du Patri Nuastru takes place: a band roams the village playing happy and festive marches in seeming ignorance that it is still nightime and everyone is asleep. Gradually, men and boys woken by the sound file behind the band until a large group forms. At six in the morning the Arricugghiuta da cira (collection of wax) begins, which has unfortunately lost its original function. In fact, inspite of the early hour the faithful used to offer food and drink to the musicians in a friendly and festive atmosphere, and – most importantly – would offer candles, poseys, and ears of wheat which would then be lit at the feet of the Holy Cross. The afternoon sees a solemn procession take place, which in this area has only recently seen the participation of the village’s confraternities. Mounted on a pallet, the simulacra of the Most Holy Cross is carried by a group of people known as the “naked”, who dress in entirely white costumes with a red sash tied around their waists; they are followed by a barefoot mass of the devout, the band, and numerous faithful. The confraternities, the associates of the Deputation of the Most Holy Cross, precede the Cross in order of age and dressed with a small cape of crimson red velvet. During the morning of the fourth of May, the last day of festivities, there is another Scinnuta du Signuri with the blessing of the fields and the health of the people in the small villa next to the church, just as on the first day. When this has finished the Cross is taken into the Church and put back into its chapel.