Sa Sartiglia

Horse Cultures of the World

If you ever want to check out a beautiful island that loves their horses this would be the one! The people of Sardinia (an island off the coast of Italy) and of the greater surrounds, including tourists, flock to this piece of paradise to witness the 3-day festive affair that is Sa Sartiglia. This medieval and flamboyant festival occurs in the first few weeks of February and is the biggest festival on the island! What is fascinating about this festival is that the horses are adorned with rosettes and the riders are wearing eerie masks!

Thought to have started from the knights in the Second crusade or even older (!!), this crazy colourful and medieval festival is one to see! Feast your eyes on these fantastic photographs of this 3-day extravaganza!

Watching over all that come to see this festival and those who participate is the Su Componidori. He is chosen from the “knight” contestants and is formally dressed in a bizarre concoction of medieval garb in front of crowds. He initiates the proceeding by blessing the main track, contenders and the crowds by riding up and down it and throwing violets into the audience.

Soon after this exciting display, a joust starts and the main idea is to aim the lance at a star-shaped ring called the stella at a gallop! Imagine trying to aim at a tiny dot as you pelt past thousands of people! The amount of stars that the contender collects is how lucky or unlucky they will be at harvest time as well as wishing luck to farmers and spectators.

Now you may be looking at the garb the contenders and their horses are wearing. They do look eerie in those masks! The horses are dressed head to hoof in rosettes and other decorations to match their masked riders (usually in the same colour! Matchy Matchy!).

After cheering at the riders galloping at breakneck speeds in the jousts, the next spectacle includes watching in awe at the fantastic acrobatics, hair-raising stunts and jaw-dropping team lifts that other contestants complete while galloping down another sandy track! Safe to say don’t try this at home but check out this one below!

How about that globetrotters! Would you go see this medieval festival in a slice of paradise?

References: Sardinian Experiences

Images via Pinterest, Sardinia 4 Emotions, Sardegna Turismo, Twitter, Vimeo, 

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