The Festival in honour of the Holy Crucifix in Calatafimi has ancient origins and has been celebrated in the town every five or seven years from May 29 to May 3.
The townspeople, who have retained their mediaeval artisan guilds over the centuries, parade in their traditional guilds for three days through the streets of the town raining the fruits of the land on the public in abundance – nuts, cheese and ‘cucciddati’ (a typical bread roll) – while also illustrating rural and craft customs in a series of floats, accompanied by mules, horses and oxen caparisoned for the Festival, perhaps the real protagonists as they make their way round the narrow streets of this old ancient town, following a tradition handed down for centuries.
Originally the Festival of the Holy Crucifix was celebrated in June, the month when the miracles which originated it took place, but then it was moved to June so that it could coincide with the Festival of the Exaltation of the Cross – to be finally settled at its present date.
The Festival of the Holy Crucifix also incorporates another celebration - that of the Madonna di Giubino, the Patron Saint of Calatafimi. As a Festival it has few equals in Sicily - it has managed to preserve aspects of folklore in freshness and reveal living traditions (not ones brought out of the cupboard on occasions just for the tourist).
The Festival of the Holy Crucifix has been solemnly celebrated at Calatafimi since 1657, following a series of miracles which were attested by public documents.