|The descent of the Candelieri or
"the great celebration" for the Sassaresi, which falls on the 14th of August (the eve of the
mid-August bank holiday), has been celebrated for over 700 years. This celebration has been
changed over the years, but the object has not changed, it is still a festival in honour of the
Vergine Assunta (Our Lady of the Assumption).
Since the sixteenth century this celebration has been religious and votive in gratitude to the
Virgin for having freed the city of three terrible plagues, the last of which was in 1652. Almost
all the population of Sassari died. The survivors who numbered a little over 5000 confirmed the
votive nature of the festival, which had been votive since 1580 (or 1583 as the Historian Angius
It is important to note that all the three plagues (the previous dating from 1504 and 1514) ended
on the 14th of August.
|For this reason nowadays
this celebration represents a thanksgiving.
The leaders of this celebration are the Gremi which
are the ancient arts and crafts guilds that originated in Spain. There are nine
Gremi in Sassari. They are: the "Piccapietre" (which means people who carve stone), the
Commercial Travellers, the Farmer Workers, the Cabinet Makers, the Market Gardeners, the
Shoe Repairers, the Bricklayers, the Tailors and the Farmers.
Since 1531, the farmers have been the most prestigious Gremio. They are almost the symbol of
a city which is inhabited by farmer.