Águeda de Catania was born on September 8, 235, in San Giovanni Palermo and was tortured and martyred on February 5, 261 in Catania, Sicily. She is represented with the Palm of Martyrdom and her breasts on a tray. She is the patron saint of Catania and all of Sicily because she is credited with her intervention, after her death, invoked by the inhabitants, to stop the lava from Etna at the gates of the city. She is also the patron saint of nurses and a general protector of women.
In the Basque Country, the eve of Saint Águeda’s day is celebrated, Agate Deuna Bezpera, with choral music in the streets, with sticks and canes, maquilas, which are struck on the ground to the rhythm of the well-known and popular chant of Saint Águeda. This tradition of striking the earth is related to pre-Christian rites that sought to awaken the earth itself, after being asleep in winter.
Although this year, due to the coronavirus, the festivities for the Saint have been suspended, we remind you of the lyrics, for when we can celebrate this popular meeting and celebration again. The lyrics, in Basque, are as follows:
In the Synodical Constitutions of the Diocese of Calahorra y la Calzada (1700), with a marginal apostille by Don Pedro de Lepe in Logroño, 1698, appears the XI Constitution, which “Provides for the ringing of bells on the eve of Santa Agueda”, establishing where who and how the bells should be rung the day before.
If you’re curious, here’s the document.
Enjoy your reading and the day of Santa Águeda,