A celebration of an ancient holy feast
La festa dell’Estaltazione della Santa Croce, otherwise known as ‘The Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross’, is a Catholic event falling on 14th of September every year. The event celebrates Emperor Heraclius’ recovery of the Holy Cross in Jerusalem in the 7th century. Legend tells that Emperor Heraclius carried the Cross back to Jerusalem on his shoulders and out of the hands of the Persians. The feast marks this occasion as a turning point for Catholicism.
Traditionally, the event was celebrated in feasting halls with extravagant food decorations, lights and candles. Nowadays, morning Mass is held at the Vatican outside of St. Peter’s basilica and celebrated by Catholics across the country, most notably at Lucca at the Basilica of San Frediano as well as multiple venues in Verona and Sicily.
The celebration is a popular day for marriage, with 20 happening at the Vatican in 2014 in the presence of Pope Francis. La festa dell’Esaltazione della Santa Croce is celebrated in many locations such as Verona, Sicily and other cities across the country.