Antico Sposalizio Selargino ( Sa Coja Antiga Cerexina) in Selargius (Cagliari). Once every summer

The celebration of the “Ancient Marriage Selargino”  is a great festival of folklore, a flashback in to the past traditions of Sardinia. On this occasion, in Selargius, a town close to Cagliari, you relive the glitz and the colours of the wedding ceremonies of Campidano region as they were in the past times. We find those gestures and those moments, handed down over the centuries, the expression of a culture full of profound sacredness and spirit of a community who always lived every event of life of individuals as a fact right.  Who attends this event can immediately notice the participation and involvement of the entire population of Selargius.

The initial moment of this festival is the “blessing” of the bridegroom and of the bride, which takes place simultaneously in their native homes, in front of the crowd of relatives, neighbours and friends. Here the parents of the couple, in turn, throw handfuls of grain and salt on the heads of their children on their knees, and express with formulas of ancient wisdom, the best wishes of prosperity and knowledge of the moral virtues; then before they leave forever the native roof, turning their latest warnings.

In the second stage the parades of the two, for a while ‘yet “bagadius” (single), move to meet the churchyard. During this colourful and joyous parade through the streets of the village the engaged couple, each of them accompanied by the respective fathers, receive greetings from the villagers. Some women of the village will continue with the blessing rituals by throwing a mixture of salt and wheat on the groom and the bride.

The wedding procession is accompanied by sixty folk groups and involves hundreds of people from all over the island. It is truly and enjoyable event which involves the entire community.

The processions make their entrance into the church, greeted by the music of organs and “launeddas”, typical Sardinian woodwind instrument made of three pipes. Here, according to the rite of the Holy Roman Church, as in the ancient tradition, the marriage takes place in the Sardinian language, tying the bride and groom to the bridal chain, “sa cadena”, symbol of perpetual and indissoluble bond established by the sacrament.

Now become spouses, “cojaus” (married), the protagonists of this wonderful ritual appear again on the church square, greeted by the sound of applause and joy of the people dressed in traditional costumes.

Accompanied by the priest, moving to the nearby medieval church of San Giuliano, to write a “promise” of love in front of the authorities of the village and the Brothers of the Rosary,

Then they head to their new home. Just before that, they are greeted by their two mothers whom will give them the last blessing before moving home and say goodbye, “s’adiosu” in Sardinian language. It is a moment full of happiness to see their beloved children giving life to another family.

After the solemn ceremonies of the morning, the celebrations continue in the night. Most of the folk groups which have accompanied the couple during the procession will continue dancing and singing traditional songs to celebrate the happy married couple.

Ardia in Sedilo (Oristano). 6-7/July of every year

It is an event that takes place in Sedilo and Pozzomaggiore on 6 and 7 July. It consists of a procession on horseback with three stages of the race with the aim to reach the shrine dedicated to Constantine I, one of the Roman emperors, in Sardinia called Santu Antinu.

The ardia of Santu Anninu in Sedilo is the most structured among the events that follow a similar profile of this kinds of festivals and that are held in different villages of the Island. One example is that of Noragugume (NU), where it runs the ardia in honor of the Blessed Virgin of Itria, and that of Dualchi (NU) where it runs for the Saints Peter and Paul.

The race begins when the three race leaders gather in front of the parish house, with the other riders, where they receive the banners blessed (Sas Pandelas) from the hands of the priest: the first yellow gold, the second red, the third white. The pastor himself decided, a few months before, the name of the head of the tournament (prima pandela), which has the task of guiding the Ardia.

He is assisted in this task by two other riders that he has chosen (sa segunda pandela and sa tertza pandela). To these and stocks (sas iscortas) is entrusted with the task of preventing the head race is exceeded by the remaining knights, symbolizing the pagan.

The overcoming of the sa prima pandela would represent the victory of  paganism over Christianity. The word “ardia” comes, in fact, from the verb “bardiare” which means “to protect, to guard.” At the end of the delivery of the banners, knights, led by the parish priest and the mayor and accompanied by a band and riflemen announcing the arrival of the procession through the main streets of the country make their way to the shrine, which is a short distance from  the town.

Once in su Frontigheddu on the promontory above the entrance arch to the sanctuary, the participants in the race stopping in to receive the blessing from the priest. Suddenly, unexpectedly, the prima pandela, gallop his horse, followed by the rest of the riders.

In a short time the group reaches the sanctuary and will turn around for an unknown number of times, making between five and seven laps. The knights rush, then, towards sa muredda, a circular wall at the centre of which stands a cross. The Ardia ends when the group goes over the stretch of  land that separates sa muredda from the sanctuary.

After the celebration of Mass, the whole procession, heads for the village to reach the house of the priest, where takes place the ceremony of the delivery of the banners. The next morning repeats the ceremony of the previous evening, but with a more intimate atmosphere. The eighth day, finally takes place, with the same ritual Ardia riding, the Ardia walk, where many young people participating. Then, in the evening, is made the procession in honour of the saint.

La Cavalcata Sarda. Third week in May

1899 was the year of the first Cavalcata made in honour of  King Umberto I and Queen Margherita, because they went to visit Sardinia, especially Sassari, for the inauguration of the monument built by Giuseppe Sartorio raised in the Piazza of Italy to pay homage to Vittorio Emanuele II.

This festival is held in Sassari on the next to last Sunday of May. It is characterized by a parade on horseback, on foot or with traccas (typical wagons decorated with flowers and objects of everyday life), groups from all parts of Sardinia. Among the participants include hundreds of horsemen and horsewomen and more than 3000 people wearing traditional clothes, often enriched by manicured embroidery and filigree jewellery.

The event continues in the afternoon in the city racecourse where horses and riders perform pariglie and incredible acrobatic figures. Then the day ends in the Piazza of Italy with the traditional Sardinian songs and dances, with the music of typical instruments like launeddas.

As time passes this festival assumes annual basis, becoming one of the most famous and beloved cultural and tourist events in the island. In 1982 they were in fact often organized two events, one of which is in honor of Sandro Pertini, the then President of the Italian Republic.

The Cavalcata  is fully part of the three main parties of Sardinia which brings together folk groups from all over the island. but there is a particular difference from the other two (the Festival of the Redentore in Nuoro and the Festival of Sant’Efisio Cagliari), since it is the only one that is purely laical and not tied to the origins of religious type.