Devotion


Throughout Palermo, the streets are dotted with street shrines. Some are large and ornate, appearing to be housed in miniature stone temples. Others are smaller and humble, a simple recess in a building's wall. They are decorated with Christmas lights or neon, fresh flowers or cloth ones. They bring saints and religious icons to the street corner into the bustle of every day life. They are beautiful collages of objects and images, a backdrop of protectors, miracle workers, saviors.

Many are dedicated to "La Santuzza", Santa Rosalia- Palermo's patron saint, who was said to have appeared to a hunter in 1624 and given instructions to find her remains in the cave to where she had retreated and lived as a hermit. As the story goes, the hunter found the remains and brought them back to a plague-infested Palermo, after which the city was cured of the illness. When the remains were examined later, they were found to most likely belong to a goat- a testament to the power of coincidence and belief.

Walking around the city, these shrines are amulets of protection, similar to the ubiquitous nazar, or evil eyes around Turkey- a security blanket for the jostles of daily life.





























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