Carnival in Sardinia

The carnival in Sardinia is an ancient custom full of mysterious and ancestral rites that will enchant you. The streets of the villages come alive with processions made up of anthropomorphic and animal figures which often involve the spectators directly in the ritual representation. Below is a guide to the main localities and traditions of Carnival Sardinian , as well as all updates to this year's calendar.

carnival in Sardinia

The main carnival towns in Sardinia

There are a few localities in Sardinia where carnival is recognized for its particularity. As for example in Oristano coastal town in the center-east of the island where the famous horse race called Sartiglia takes place. Also in the province of Oristano, you can observe traditional horse races called Pariglia at Sa Carrela 'e Nanti, in Santu Lussurgiu.

In Barbagia, the deep Sardinian hinterland, you will find two of the most famous carnivals. Every year in Mamoiada, the parade of typical costumes called Mammuthones e Issohadores takes place, and in Ottana that of Boes e Merdules.

In the north of Sardinia the Carnasciali Tempiesu, the Carnival of Tempio is not to be missed under any circumstances! In Ulassai, in Ogliastr To , is celebrated Su Maimulu, translation into Sardinian of Maimone, the ancient Phoenician deity of the rain which is also recalled in the carnivals of Olzai and Oniferi in Barbagia.

In the southern part of the island, we mention the Carnevale Guspinese and the carnival of San Gavino Monreale, made up of parades of majestic and very colorful papier-mâché floats.

Sardinian carnival traditions

The traditions of carnival in Sardinia come from ancient rites of offerings linked to agriculture and pastoral life as well as to the cycle of seasons and life.

The Tempio Carnival is the most important in Sardinia. It combines the reference to traditional disguises and masks with the dances and songs in costume with the iconic float parades. The demonstration ends with a fire in King George's Puppet Square ( Re Giorgio ), ancient divinity who represents the earth which offers its fruits and where sacrifices were made.

During the Sartiglia d'Oristano, a horse race, riders must catch a metal star that bodes well for the coming spring, the game ends when it is caught.

In Santu Lussurgiu, Sa Carrela 'e Nanti represents the road on which a race of horses tied together, the riders demonstrate their courage and agility.

The manifestations of the carnival in Ogliastra and in Barbagia have a truly mysterious and magical character. For Su Maimulu in Ulassai, as well as for the carnival of Ottana, processions of hideous masks parade which characterize oxen.

In Mamoiada, the Mammuthones parade dressed in animal skins and with almost ominous black wooden masks who advance in line, and rhythmically resound the drums they carry on their backs. The Issohadores, who lead the Mammuthones dance, wear an expressionless white mask and the So'a, the rope they used to capture young women as a sign of fertility and auspiciousness.