Easter in Sardinia celebrates the meeting of Pagan and Christian rites, in a fascinating union, full of ritual charm. In fact all Sardinian people call Easter “Pasca Manna”(Big Easter), while Christmas is called Paschixèdda (Little Easter).
Tradition, rites, folklore and Christian liturgy join together in different Sardinian locations. So the Passion of Christ is indissolubly linked to the cycles of peasant activity, always dear to Sardinian people.
THE HOLY WEEK IN SARDINIA
PALM SUNDAY(in Sardinian language: Dominiga ‘e Prama)
The Holy Week starts on Palm Sunday. The celebration includes the blessing and distribution of palm leaves, twisted into various shapes, and olive branches to the population. They will be kept all year long and then burnt. All Holy Week celebrations are accompanied by matràccas, arrèulas, tautalìttas and rainèddas: particular wooden music instruments with an unmistakable sound.
THE PROCESSION OF THE MYSTERIES: HOLY MONDAY (in Sardinian language: Lunis Santu)
Holy Monday is the Procession of the Mysteries day, celebrated almost everywhere in Sardinia. These fascinating rites recall the Passion of Jesus. The so-called Lunissanti takes place in Castelsardo and probably represents the most enthralling rite during the Holy Week in Sardinia. Not to be missed is the night part of the Procession, when only the lights of the torches illuminate the crucifixion of Jesus Christ statue. The choruses accompany the celebrations for the whole duration and the costumes of the celebrants offer a charming and medieval show.
THE PROCESSION OF THE MYSTERIES: HOLY TUESDAY (in Sardinian language: Martis Santu)
On Holy Tuesday the Procession of the Mysteries is reproposed. The most important ones take place in Alghero, Bosa and Cagliari.
HOLY WEDNESDAY (in Sardinian language: Mercuris Santu)
In several towns is the day for dressing in mourning.
THE SEPULCHRES WORSHIP: MAUNDY THURSDAY (in Sardinian language: Giobia Santa)
All Sardinian churches are set up with a traditional mourning ornament: su nènniri (greenish yellow wheat germs). The creation of these ornaments is quite peculiar and ritual. On Ash Wednesday some grains are put in a dish with some cotton wool. The dish will then be kept in the dark. The grains will sprout, keeping a yellowish colour, and then they will be embellished by coloured ribbons and put inside of the sepulchres.
THE DEPOSITION FROM THE CROSS (in Sardinian language: Su Scravamentu): GOOD FRIDAY (in Sardinian language: Chenabura Santa)
The Deposition from the Cross is one of the most exciting moment during Holy Week in Sardinia. For more than two centuries some Jesus Christ jointed statues of exceptional artistic workmanship have been used, giving the celebration much more realism. The most riveting Depositions take place in Iglesias and Alghero.
HOLY SATURDAY(in Sardinian language: Sabadu Santu)
In Cagliari and other villages the Deposition from the Cross( s’ Iscravamentu) is celebrated on Holy Saturday. In other towns is the day to celebrate water, fire and the paschal candle, and then wait for midnight accompanied by the confraternities' choruses.
EASTER SUNDAY: THE MEETING (in Sardinian language: S’Incontru)
Bells ring to the Glory, the simulacra of the Sorrowful Mother leave the mourning clothes to celebrate S'Incontru: the meeting between the risen Christ and his mother, the Virgin Mary.
THE MAIN LOCATIONS WHERE THE HOLY WEEK IS CELEBRATED IN SARDINIA:
NORTH: OLBIA (click here) - CASTELSARDO (click here) - BOSA (click here) - ALGHERO (click here)
MIDDLE: NUORO (click here) - OLIENA (click here) - MAMOIADA (click here) - VILLAGRANDE (click here)
SOUTH: CAGLIARI (click here) - IGLESIAS (click here)