Religious festivals and folklore


Numerous religious festivals take place in Palmi during the summer: the Madonna del Carmine on July 16th, the Feast of Sant’Elia and the Madonna of the High Seas on the penultimate and last Sundays of July, respectively. The oldest and most impressive celebrations are those of San Rocco and the Varia, which are deeply rooted in local traditions and folklore. San Rocco is celebrated on August 16th and attracts many emigrants who return even from the Americas and Australia to fulfill their vows. The procession lasts about four hours and includes not only ordinary faithful but also penitents and those expressing gratitude to the saint. The festival is preceded in the morning by the dance of the Giants Mata and Grifone, huge papier-mâché figures that perform a love and courtship dance to the syncopated rhythm of drums and big drums. This spectacle, bordering on theatrical performance, is a favorite among both adults and children.


Every year on August 16th, thousands of faithful flock to the city to participate in the traditional procession of the saint’s statue through the streets. The procession lasts about four and a half hours and covers a route of over seven kilometers. The statue of the saint is preceded by a Palio and drums, as well as a river of penitents: the Spinati, young people who offer their heads to crowns of thorns, which their devout enthusiasm has transformed into large, prickly basket-like headdresses.

The Feast of San Rocco is an important example of how religion and culture intertwine in the history and life of a community, creating a living and evolving cultural heritage.

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Photo credits

Thanks to:

Giancarlo Parisi
Eugenio Crea
Francesco Iannelli
Associazione Fotografica Imagorà
Giuseppina Arena
Giulia De Marco