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The modern festival of the Santissimo Crocifisso has many aspects beyond the re-enactment of the historic procession. It is an event that brings the entire town together in a massive cooperative enterprise. It also brings back - if only for a visit - many of the town’s far-flung emigrants, from Rome, Milan and Turin; from France, Germany and Britain, and even some from the U.S., Canada, Argentina and Australia. The 17th-century social structure and culture of the town are re-enacted as well, with traditional dress, music and dance, and with the key organizational role of the ceti - the various guilds of medieval origin, such as the maestranza, as well as the animal keepers, the farmers and orchard workers, the horsemen, the millers, the butchers and others. Highly decorated floats, pulled by every available tractor in the town and animated by children, demonstrate antique agrarian practices for harvesting and milling grains, pressing olives and grapes, picking fruit, and carry large explanatory signs in the old Sicilian dialect that is rapidly disappearing. Domestic animals, largely invisible in modern daily life, return to play a central role - from the sheep and goats on the herdsmen’s float to the many horses and mules ridden or pulling traditional Sicilian carts, to the huge pairs of oxen pulling the largest floats in the procession from which the traditional hard bread rings (cucciddati) are tossed to the crowds.

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