hidden europe explores how two island communities will spend New Year's Day: Zafferana in Sicily and Kirkwall in the Orkney Islands
Zafferana, Sicily - after la vigilia di Capodanno
By the time the priest at Zafferana has finished saying Mass on New Year's Day most of the faithful will have left. Elderly men may gather in the modern café, drinking their espressi. But many folk will already be in their Fiats heading west from the town, up the twisting road towards Mount Etna.
Here, as in many villages along the east side of Sicily, there is a curious New Year tradition of collecting snow from the great volcano that towers above Zafferana. Sicily’s answer to sorbet is granita, a delicate icy crush of freshly squeezed fruit juice and honey. But this is Sicily and so there are hierarchies, and granita cognoscenti claim that there is no better variant of this lush dessert than the granita made with snow gathered on Etna on New Year’s Day.