The Sartiglia of OristanoThe Sartiglia of Oristano
The drums roll incessantly, the horseman wears the mask of a mysterious God and he draws his sword holding it straight in front of him. The horseman stands up on his saddle while he is galloping at breakneck speed along the road. After a few seconds, the rumble of the crowd accompanies the point of the foil which pierces the star. It’s done. People hail "Su Cumpoidori" and rejoice in front of the trophy which is proudly paraded.

Images of the Sartiglia of Oristano

This is the way that, on the last Sunday and on the Tuesday of Carnival, Oristano becomes the capital of Sardinia. This is the "Sartiglia", a festival of a thousand symbols, a festival of magic, of prosperity, misery and of pain and hope.
Photo from the book: Sagre di Sardegna - publisher: L'Unione Sarda
From Via S. Antonio as far as Via Vittorio Emanuele and Piazza Mannu, a stream of people, who come from the four corners Sardinia, pass through the Cathedral, throng the edges of the route which is covered in earth and straw. Each time this festival takes place, centuries of history pour into that route which is trampled by the horses’ hoofs. A storm of screams and cheering accompanies "Su Cumpoidori" as his sword pierces the star. Sartiglia is not a simple celebration of carnival rites, nor is it a reproduction of a Medieval tournament nor an exhibition by brave strong horsemen. The Sartiglia is a collection of traditional and cultural elements handed down over the centuries. The people in Oristano experience this festival with indescribable emotive intensity. This festival, since the time of Giudicato d’Arborea, has displayed some of the most interesting and as of yet unexplored aspects of pagan rites influenced by Christian ceremony.

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