There is a strong bond between the people in the area surrounding Erice and ‘Our Lady of Custonaci’, her being patron to numerous other townships that once belonged to the municipality of Erice.
The festivities in her honour take place the last week of August, beginning on Sunday and ending on Wednesday with a solemn procession for the painting of the Madonna through the town streets. According to legend, a French ship landed in the splendid cove of Bukutò having survived shipwreck with the precious cargo of the “Our Lady of Custonaci” painting that is now venerated in the town shrine.
In memory of this legend, during the celebrations of the “Madonna di Custonaci on the last Monday of August” there is a re-enactment of this event. As a sailing ship surrounded by smaller boats lands at night in the spectacular bay, a copy of the famous painting is unloaded and brought ashore: fireworks then light up the sky as the large crowd carrying torches escort the sacred image all the way up the hill to the town.
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