Carnival in Sardinia: where ancestral cults are revealed.
Sardinia, the place of Carnival in Italy!
Without any doubt, Carnival in Sardinia represents the very essence of Carnival in Italy! If you want to experience the authentic carnival ritual, you absolutely have to come to Sardinia, then!
There are about 35 different masks typologies in the island, all related to the roots of Mediterranean culture: wildness and divinity, human being and instinct, life and death.
Thanking to Dionysius – Maimone (which means crazy presence); follish people drink and dance untill exhaustion, this symbolizes the catharsis that leads to new life, to the new year, attracting the best wishes for health and prosperity.
Saint Anthony the Great’s night, January the 17th : the Beginning.
The holy hermit and anchor who gave the fire to men! Protector of animals. From this night, the Carnival in Sardinia begins to be celebrated breaking out more or less 50 days before Easter. Men wear animal skins, masks with long goats horns and dozens of cowbells normally used by animals.
Wine becomes the ecstatic Vector, the rhythmic and obsessive circle Dance becomes the action of the Transmigration.
Typical masks of the Carnival in Sardinia.
Mamuthones and Issohadores of Mamoiada (NU) are internationally known for their dramatic presence and for their dance form in a circle with, at least, 30kgs of cowbells on the shoulders.
Aroused, led and prodded by the elegant Issohadores with the characteristic red bodice and the rope that they throw on the crowd. This is the most popular Sardinian mask, carved in the pear wood and painted in black.
Boes and Merdules of Ottana (NU) covered with long sheepskin and beautiful bovine masks, while they weave the eternal ritual of the shepherd who looks after but also commands the animals, as eternal is the presence of the randomness of fate symbolized by the mask of Sa Filonzana: the spinner.
Mamutzones of Samugheo (OR) mask is characterized by a goat’s head with long false horns, sheepskin and cowbells tied on the shoulders and belt. Dancing in a circle, exhausted, they deposit their heads in the center paying tribute to Dionisio – Maimone.
The Horse, emblematic presence of the Sardinian Carnival.
Not only the man-beast, Dionysius-Maimone but also horse and horseman, another strong component of Sardinian culture, is celebrated during the carnival in Sardinia.
Acrobatics with the horse that sink their roots in the animosity and pride of the Sardinian being, the so-called Pariglie of which the feast of Sa Sartiglia of Oristano is a splendid expression. Pivotal and almost divine figure is Su Componidori with the gentle and androgynous mask.
Sa Carrela ‘e Nanti of Santulussurgiu (OR) is an authentic exaltation of the man-horse relationship, perfectly celebrated in the beautiful village at the slopes of Montiferru’s mountain in the central Sardinia.
Pentolaccia a Cavallo of Benetutti (SS) is among the most authentic horseriding to the pentolaccia, a sort of terracotta container that the horsemen have to break with a rapier-sword, accompanied by Pariglie, where the most talented horsemen, from all over the island, love to challenge each other in.
Carnival spots in Sardinia:
We have wrote for you a google maps itinerary that from Ca ‘del Sol, our guest house in the center of Cagliari, can easily help you to the heart of Sardinia where you can experience Carnival.
If you like, drop us a line without any problem 😉
We recommend you also to stop by the small but very interesting Museum of Mediterranean Masks in Mamoiada, the village of Mamuthones, it worths visiting for sure! 🙂
Please, have a look to Ca’ del Sol offers page, where you can choose the best you your need, for experiencing the Carnival in the island of Sardinia!
Texts: 2020/2023 © Daniela e Michele for CadelSol.
Photos and Videos: © Associazione Culturale Atzeni Mamoiada – National Geographic – Fondazione Sa Sartiglia Oristano – Associazione Culturale Boes e Merdules Ottana – Mamutzones Antigos Samugheo – Sa Carrela ‘e nanti Santu Lussurgiu – Associazione Ippica Benetuttese Benetutti, that we love to thank.
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