Sardinia’s Religious Festivals

If you’re staying in accommodation in Sardinia you will be able to take advantage of the huge number of festivals which are a staple of the national cultural life. These festivals generally mark saints’ days, as with many other catholic countries, or important stages of the farming year. The island has a flavour all its own, and there are many unforgettable opportunities for dipping your toe in the local culture. Here are some important dates that mark the passage of the year in this part of the Mediterranean.

The Festa di Sant’Efisio
The Festa di Sant’Efisio is one of the most important of the local festivals. The festival begins on the first of May when the whole of Italy celebrates La Festa dei Lavoratori (Labour Day), this coincides with the beginning of the Festa di Sant’Efisio – a festival that honours the martyred saint who is said to have saved the city of Cagliari from the plague that swept across this part of the world in the 17th century. This is no civic side-show, the festival is widely considered to be one of the largest and most vibrant and colourful religious festivals in the world: it’s no accident that it lasts for four whole days. If you find yourself in accommodation in Sardinia at this time of the year, then it’s well worth heading to Cagliari to immerse yourself in the festivities. The festival is marked out by an effigy of the saint being paraded around the city on an ox-drawn carriage, drawing pilgrims to Cagliari from across the island.

The Ardia
If you’ve experienced religious festivals before, you should still take the opportunity to attend the Ardia during your stay in accommodation in Sardinia. This festival takes place on the 6th and 7th of July and is probably unlike anything else you’ve seen. The Ardia brings together some of the most skilled horse-riders in Italy to participate in a chaotic and clamorous horse race that is held to celebrate the victory of the Roman emperor Constantine over Maxentius in 312 AD. Thick crowds line the route and the gunfire and shouting means that the Ardia can be an overwhelming experience for those of a more delicate disposition, but it really is an unbeatable spectacle.

Whether you are religious or not, the festivals of the island are an important part of the social and cultural life of the residents. If you get the opportunity to visit either of these, or the numerous smaller festivities that take place while you are staying in accommodation in Sardinia, then you really should grab it with both hands.

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