Mazzarino – Feast of the Lord of the Elm

Mazzarino, CL, Italia
Festa del Signore dell'Olmo a Mazzarino

Among blooming flowers and ripening fruits, the land comes to life again, giving rise to the most evocative Religious Feast in Mazzarino. The flower, symbol of spring, accompanies the Feast of the Lord of the Elm which is celebrated on the second Sunday of May. After the Holy Mass, among the cries of devout bearers and the sound of trumpets, the Most Holy Crucifix is taken from the altar, tied to the cross, and taken out of the Church. During the procession of this religious feast in Mazzarino, the faithful throw hundreds of necklaces of yellow daisies (“sciuri di maiu” – May flowers) onto the fercolo, adorning and embellishing it. These crowns have been created by the faithful in the days leading up to the feast, spending hours in the countryside gathering the most beautiful daisies. The fercolo, brightly colored and weighing about 14 quintals, is carried on the shoulders of about 100 men dressed in white tunic. Along the way, it is often shaken from side to side to empty it of the large quantity of crowns, although it will soon be filled again with flowers.

In this religious feast in Mazzarino, the most devout follow the procession barefoot, a sign of devotion or graces received. During the month of May, they actively participate in the liturgical rites, going to church every day to attend Holy Mass and to visit the Lord of the Elm, thanking Him or asking for graces.

Mazzarino has celebrated the Feast of the Lord of the Elm since the earthquake of 1693, when the citizens, together with the magistrate, wanted to thank the Lord for sparing the town from total destruction, unlike what had happened to many other towns. Today, this religious feast in Mazzarino is so deeply felt that it is broadcast live on various regional channels such as Mediterraneo Sat, Mediterraneo Due, and Videomediterraneo.

The legend of the Celebration of the Lord of the Elm tells that one night a band of rogues, probably from Piazza Armerina, entered the Church of Mazzarino with the intention of stealing the prestigious Crucifix. Upon entering the Church, one of them stuck his elm stick in front of the structure and miraculously it sprouted into a tree. The thieves were frightened by what they saw, ran away and left their loot in the Church. Over the years, the tree grew, but in 1880, Don Luigi Farinello (rector of the Church) decided to have it uprooted against the will of the faithful.