The Sartiglia consists of a ring race, where riders must catch a wrought iron star with their spear or foil. The ritual is linked to agricultural and rural tradition and the success of this action bodes well for the fertility of the land and the abundance of the harvests the following spring.
Until the 19th century, there were seven guilds of arts and masters, the Gremi , which had succeeded in ensuring the smooth running of the Sartiglia , today only the Gremio des Paysans , the Gremio des Carpenters and that of the masons ( Muratori ) each of which is linked to a patron saint.
The key figure in the entire event is Su Cumponidori, an enigmatic and mysterious figure, neither male nor female, who wears an androgynous terracotta mask. He is a kind of demi-god, a sacred, pure and courageous character. The dressing and undressing of Su Cumponidori are typical Sartiglia moments.
The moments of the rite take place to the rhythm of the drummers and trumpeters who accompany and mark the main moments of the event. On February 2, Candelora takes place, during which candles are blessed. The largest, decorated with flowers, is given to the preselected Componidori. On Quinquagesima Sunday, the race is solemnly proclaimed with a public announcement to the population expressed by a messenger on horseback.
History and traditions of Sartiglia
The ancient rite of the Sartiglia of medieval origin consisted of playing games for the formation of militias. Introduced into Europe by the Crusaders, it arrived in Sardinia in Oristano in the 13th century of Spain and over time knows many revolutions until it becomes a typical expression, a popular costume and a meaning of auspiciousness.
The dressing, the race for the star, the pariglies of the riders and the undressing are the most striking and exciting events that take place within the crowd of onlookers, between cries and cheers, of a palpable emotional intensity that allows Sartiglia to be a pure horse race. All this brings her closer to a feeling of deep belonging to a community.
At the end of the Sartiglia, participants meet in Via Mazzini where equestrian acrobatics on galloping horses are exhibited. Su Cumponidori, however, does not participate in it because he is the pure and emblematic figure and cannot perform acrobatics because he risks touching the ground.
Before the Sartiglia, a party is organized with a banquet in the stables, with the participation of the riders, their friends and acquaintances and the public always for a large number of visitors and tourists. This meal allows you to taste typical cuisine such as grilled piglet, traditional carnival pastries and Vernaccia di Oristano, a local wine.
It is also possible to participate when the riders come out of the stables, after their preparation and that of the horses adorned with precious ribbons and rosettes. These rosettes are small fabric ribbons made the month before the Sartiglia, a long artisanal work carried out by the mothers, wives and fiancées of the riders.