The Sartiglia of Oristano

The Sartiglia of Oristano

A medieval origin carnival

If you are in Fordongianus during Carnival you can not miss The Sartiglia of Oristano, one of the most special and choreographic Sardinia's carnival forms. It is a horse carousel, a medieval origin race to the ring , which is run every year on the last Sunday and Tuesday of Carnival. This ritual takes place throughout the day and reaches its peak in the afternoon, with the real race.

The the Sartiglia's origin are remote. The oldest documents relating to it are kept in the Oristano town  and date back to 1547, and in them are told of a Sortilla in honor of Charles V. Initially the tournament was organized by the municipal authorities, it was later entrusted to the Gremi, trade associations, operating in the city since the sixteenth century and who have passed the ceremonial until today.

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The Sartiglia engages the organizers for a good part of the year, but the official celebrations begin at the Candelora religious feast. . Every year, on the morning of February 2, Gremi's representatives participate in the Mass, which is celebrated in San Giovanni dei Fiori for the peasants, and into Cathedral for the carpenters. During the celebration are blessed candles, one of which, the largest, decorated with flowers and ribbons, is destined to Componidori, the Lord of the Feast. After the religious ceremony, the Gremio's president, along with the other highest association's offices , he goes to the  chosen Componidori's house , and gives him the blessed candle, communicating officially to the entire city the name of the person who will be the Chief of Race and will, therefore, the honor of leading the event.

The Sartiglia's day first act is the Notice reading, which, as for all the past's events , it was announced in the city's main squares by a Herald. Quinquagesima Sundays and the following Tuesday, starting from the Eleonora square in front of the Palazzo di Città , the auctioneer, accompanied by Alfieri, drummers and trumpeters, passes through the old town's streets , stopping at intersections most important; announces the upcoming race and invites everyone to go to sa seu de Santa Maria. The Herald publishes the will of the town, the race start time , the prizes reserved for the winners knights, which according to ancient customs should try in tests of skill with sword and spear, and finally communicates the disposition so that all participating riders are subject to the command of Su Mastru Componidori already appointed the last February 2 .

At this point the ancient ritual involves donning of Su Componidori. The chosen horseman , accompanied by drummers and trumpeters, shows up in a place designated by Gremio and, accompanied by the Launeddas sound,  rises on sa Mesitta, a table that acts as a veritable altar. From this moment on, the Cape Race should no longer touch the ground, so as to preserve the purity needed to compete and to win.

Sas Massajeddas dress knight, young women in traditional dress, led by Sa Massaja Manna.

The ritual reaches its peak when to the knight is sewn on the face the mask, which makes it a demigod.

The chief race at this point rises on on the horse, , give him sa pipia de maju, the scepter of violets, and completely lying on the horse performs Sa Remada to pass under the door and go outside, where they await the other knights together to a cheering crowd.

Is formed at this point a cortege, which, led by the chief race moved to Via Mazzini, where he began the show itself, in which will be involved _ all parade's pariglie . At the end of the race is again Su Componidori to formally close races with a ride along with his companions pair, lying on the horse, while blesses the crowd with the scepter of violets. The ritual ends with the undressing, the horse is brought near Sa Mesitta, Su Componidori, always without touching the ground, dismounts and by massajeddas is undressed. The man's face reappears to the audience that greeted him and celebrated his achievements.