When Sardinia celebrates, it’s always a lively occasion. Christian and pagan customs, medieval spectacles and colourful costumes - since time immemorial, Sardinians have certainly known how to party. Whether at Easter, during carnival or one of the modern music festivals. Influences of the diverse Mediterranean peoples flow through the music, singing and dances, simultaneously keeping old traditions alive.
Sardinia’s festivals: Jousting tournaments and festive processionsWhen Sardinia celebrates, it’s always a lively occasion. Christian and pagan customs, medieval spectacles and colourful costumes – since time immemorial, Sardinians have certainly known how to party. Whether at Easter, during carnival or one of the modern music festivals. Influences of the diverse Mediterranean peoples flow through the music, singing and dances, simultaneously keeping old traditions alive.
Lively jousting, Christian processions, colourful costumes – Sardinia celebrates all year round with a vibrant mix of festivals full of zest for life, pagan myths and Christian faith. Celebrating with the Sardinians reveals a real insight into the culture of the island.
Throughout Sardinia, the grand festivities begin in February with the carnival. The original character of Sardinia’s carnival has been preserved, especially in the mountainous regions. In Barbagia, the Carnevale Barbaricino has a direct link to everyday life and the living conditions of farmers and shepherds. Men in grim-looking masks fight a battle between humans and the forces of nature to drive off the winter.
The Sartiglia in Oristano is a colourful, medieval display of chivalry and knights during carnival. Knights marked with white have to gallop towards an iron star and hit it with their sword – the more often the better, since legend has it that the skill of the knights seals the fate of the town.
Sardinia’s largest festival,Sagra di Sant Efisio, dates back to the 17th century. During the four-day celebrations (1 to 4 May), Sardinians flock to Cagliari to take part in a vibrant and splendid traditional procession, carrying the statue of Saint Ephysius to the village of Pula 40 kilometres away. This is home to the small chapel of Sant’Efisio, where the Christian martyr was once executed by the Romans.
The largest religious festival in Sardinia is Easter. Here, it is known as Sa Pasca Manna (‘the great Easter celebration’ in English), whilst Christmas is only called Paschixedda (or ‘the small Easter celebration’). Anyone who witnesses the beautiful and moving mystery processions is guaranteed to remember them for a long time to come.
You can find more information on festivals, markets and other events in Italy here.
A more contemporary festival is the four-day Festa del Mare, a cabaret and musical festival that takes place every year at the beginning of September in Siniscola/Santa Lucia on the east coast between Olbia and Arbatax. This vibrant mix of culture, shows, concerts, exhibitions and events serves to promote and raise environmental awareness amongst the population – after all, the relationship with the sea is nowhere more important than here.