Maskaras: the Sardinian Summer Carnival
The secrets and masked characters of the Summer Carnival of Muravera are rooted in the charm and mystery of these ancient agro-pastoral rites.
Sardinia has a unique relationship with the Italian Winter Carnival, as opposed to other parts of Italy it hosts a festival that is rooted in ancient agro-pastoral and rural rites and is far from the stereotype of the noisy cheerful party full of confetti, laughter and spray cans.
But there’s more: on the island, there’s a second Carnival that takes place during the summer and, in the specific, at the beginning of August.
This is the traditional Maskaras Carnival in Muravera, a village in the south-east of the island, the main town of the Sarrabus region, which has much in common with the typical winter Carnival of Mamoiada starting from ritual dances and propitiatory rites linked to rural life and the cycle of nature up to the symbolic masked characters.
For the 18th edition, the date to be noted down is August 9th, 2023: at 10 pm, Via Roma will be animated by disturbing and dark masks, which move with cadenced steps to the heavy sound of cowbells. As already mentioned, this is a Carnival experience, in which tragic and dark characters are paraded along the main street of Muravera in their ritual dances, echoes of the island’s rural past.
Absorbed in the magic of a spectacular event that cannot be found anywhere else, spectators often forget their role and let themselves be “overwhelmed” by the numerous characters in the powerful ancestral and primitive rites. The most authentic Sardinia is alive and vibrant here more than ever and reveals itself in all its essence.
The masked characters that parade in Muravera
The characters that parade along the main street of Muravera during the timeless Maraskas Carnival are among the most representative of the traditional Sardinian carnivals and come, for the most part, from the north of the island.
Let’s get to know them more closely:
- the Mamuthones of Mamoiada can be traced back to the agro-pastoral or Dionysian rites that were practised in antiquity.
Together with the Issohadores, they make their first official appearance of the year on January 17th on the occasion of the festival of Sant’Antonio Abate.
They are twelve (one for each month of the year), wearing dark sheepskins and a wooden mask with an indecipherable expression to which a woman’s handkerchief is tied and they hop ringing the 30-kilo bells they carry tied to their backs.
- the Boes and Merdules of Ottana (Nuoro) are among the most famous characters on the island, full of mystery and charm, a reinterpretation of the Dionysian cult.
Sos Boes are the oxen while Sos Merdules are their masters and chase each other around in a frenetic dance that wants to exorcise the transformation of man into an animal.
- Urthos and Buttidos of Fonni, are the “dirty”, masculine and animalistic characters that contrast with the “clean” and feminine ones of the Carnival of Fonni, Nuoro.
Sos Uthos wear a dress made of white goat skins and black painted faces.
Sos Buttidos are the guardians, black dressed men, with dark faces and with a weather vane of cowbells around their necks.
- sos Tumbarinos, or the drummers that animate the village of Gavoi (Nuoro) during the Carnival: it is a typical Sardinian musical instrument whose sound recalls the past, which becomes the true character of Gavoi.
- s’Urtzu and sa Mamulada di Seui, a medieval village perched on the southern slopes of Gennargentu, are also archaic and “frightening” characters linked to agro-pastoral rites whose origin is lost in the mists of time
- sos Colonganos of Austis, the typical characters of the Carnival of the small town of Barbagia in the province of Nuoro: from ancient origins, they recall the rituals linked to the agricultural world and to the “man-animal” relationship for survival. They wear sheepskins and animal bones and, on their head, marten or fox skin.
They have a cork mask covered with strawberry tree branches and dance making large handmade pitchforks move.
- Mamutzones di Samugheo, are the traditional characters of this village in the province of Oristano.
During the parade, we meet S’Omadore, the shepherd, with a long black coat and a face covered with soot, the S’Urtzu, the victim, with a suit of black goat, kid skins and a heavy cowbell, and Traga Cortgius, an omen of death, carrying dry bovine skins.
There will also be the Muraverese Folk Group and musical entertainment with the Dilliriana concert.
Palazzo Doglio is the ideal choice to experience Sardinia
In the heart of Cagliari, stands Palazzo Doglio, a refined affordable luxury five-star hotel, the ideal choice to enjoy unforgettable days of comfort, privacy, well-being, shopping and the most exclusive services.
It boasts the magnificent Corte Doglio its central courtyard that recalls historic Italian squares, and hosts designer boutiques and exclusive restaurants where you can taste the best of local, national and international dishes.
Its strategic position, in the centre of town, allows guests to easily reach all the major attractions of the capital and the equally wonderful surroundings, and is only ten minutes away from the famous Poetto beach.
In addition, in less than forty minutes, you’ll be able to reach Forte Arena to attend the most iconic events of the Sardinian summer and enjoy music, fun and emotions.
Would you like to experience the excitement of the Sardinian summer Carnival and enjoy a holiday full of elegance? Book a stay at Palazzo Doglio in Cagliari