Almond Blossom Festival (Sagra del mandorlo in fiore) has been taking place in Agrigento for already 72 years. It’s an international folk festival aiming to spread the message of peace, integration and cooperation between people. Every year in February, Agrigento celebrates the first almond blossoms of the season in its Sagra del Mandorlo in Fiore. The highlight of the festival, which continues until the beginning of March, is on the closing Sunday. A parade, accompanied by songs and dances, winds through the streets of Agrigento, celebrating peace, joy and fraternity.
The almond blossoms are celebrated as harbingers of spring; once the delicate pinkish-white blossoms appear, spring can’t be too far behind—at least in Sicily. Planting spring crops begins in earnest, and here in the south we can start to taste the promise of fava beans for the Festa di San Giuseppe (St. Joseph), Italian Father’s Day, on 19 March.
Agrigento, founded by Greek colonists in 6 B.C., is one of Italy’s most under-appreciated spots with its Valle dei Tempii, home to five ancient temples: Concordia, Juno, Jupiter, Hercules, Castor and Pollux. They are official World Heritage landmarks, glow gorgeously golden at sunset, and provide an amazing backdrop for the Almond Blossom Festival.
Although most of the rest of Agrigento is quite modern, it still retains quite a bit of its ancient allure from the temples to its cobblestone streets that wind through the town. It is also home to some of the most impressive ruins in the Bel Paese. As for the Festa, sure to bring your walking shoes for a procession and your dancing shows for an international folk dancing fest as seen here
The protagonists of the Festival are folk groups coming from all over the world: during the ten-day event, the main streets and squares of the historical centre of Agrigento are studded with folk groups challenging each other with their outstanding performances – dances, music, entertainment and colourful traditional costumes. A pleasant joyful atmosphere pervades the ancient city and its most famous landmark – the Valley of the Temples – during the whole celebration. A succession of parades, colours, beautiful costumes, live shows and exhibits that ends right where it began, with the ancient and majestic Temple of Concord as setting, when a final show is performed during the last day of the Festival and the award ceremony takes place. All around, the flowers of the almond trees create an enchanting background.