Sardinia festivals: what hides behind the word folklore
As well as being an excellent tool for promoting the territory, Sardinian festivals are unmissable events for all those who love good food and artisan products made with ancient techniques handed down from generation to generation.
The festivals in Sardinia are an excellent opportunity to taste the local products and discover the typical ancient folklore of the island, the roots, the values, and the identity of an area that preserves intact memories, places, festivals, costumes, and customs.
The word folklore, which derives from the English folk “people” and lore “tradition”, refers to the set of materials (myths, fairy tales, legends, proverbs, tales, popular beliefs, games, etc.) belonging to the traditions of a population in a specific geographical area. It’s an immense cultural heritage often handed down verbally.
The origin of the term folklore is due to the English writer and antiquarian William Thoms who under the pseudonym of Ambrose Merton, published a letter in the London literary magazine Athenaeum to demonstrate the need to use a word capable of embracing all studies on English folk traditions in the first half of the nineteenth century.
Accepted by the international scientific community since 1878, the term indicates those contemporary forms of social aggregation that focus on the re-enactment of ancient popular practices, namely all those cultural expressions called “popular traditions” that include, among others, songs, festivals, superstitions, local products and recipes typical of the cuisine of a certain territory.
During the 19th century, the studies of folklore increased when interest in the popular roots of European culture grew, aided by the artistic, musical, cultural, and literary movement that went down in history under the name of Romanticism. Initially, scholarly research was focused on the oral tradition consisting mainly of songs, proverbs, popular expressions, and stories of which are present in the fables and tales of the famous Brothers Grimm.
The study of popular traditions and their history includes several themes, such as festivals and calendar customs, rural dwellings, agricultural life, seafaring and pastoral, literature, prose, dramaturgy, folk songs, dance, music, magic, superstition, religiosity, and pictorial art.
The Sardinian festivals include all this and much more, let’s now find out which are the ten folk events to know the true face of Ichnusa island.
Sardinia Festivals: the ten unmissable folk events
Here are the ten unmissable folk events from the North to the South of the island:
- Invitas: history, culture, tradition, culinary excellence and Sardinian craftsmanship are at the heart of one of the most beloved events of the island which registers tens of thousands of visitors every year. Invitas is a great festival that takes place in Cagliari between the end of October and the beginning of November. It celebrates flavors and knowledge of ancient Ichnusa with exhibitions and tastings of zero-kilometer products, from oil to honey, from cheeses to wine, bread workshops, pasta, sweets, the art of embroidery and stuffing of chairs, parades of traditional costumes, live music, and much more.
- Sagra de Su Prugadoriu: an ancient festival that animates the streets of the center of Seui every year, a medieval village in the historical region of Barbagia di Seulo in the proximity of Ogliastra. Su Prugadoriu is considered the Sardinian Halloween and takes place between October 30th and November 1st. The festival is held in Prugadoriu. For the occasion the children wear a white dress, they have a bag on their shoulders and go around the houses of the country asking for sweets and dried fruit while reciting the litany “seus benius po is animeddas” (we came for the little souls). During the festival days, it’s possible to taste the typical delicacies of the territory such as culurgionis, civargèddus, sheep stew, còrda and peas, roast meats, and cheeses.
- Festival of broad beans and chickpeas: organized on the occasion of the Feast of San Sebastiano, running from the 17th to the 20th of January, the event takes place in Ollastra, a municipality in the province of Oristano located in the region of Campidano di Oristano. On the first day of the festival, a big bonfire is lit with wood collected by the inhabitants of Ollastra in the morning and carried with the help of a ” su jù ” , the traditional cart pulled by oxen. On the last day, there is the Su ballu de pazz’è cresia with Vernaccia wine tasting.
- Festival of wild boar: in Gairo, a town in the province of Nuoro, alongside the traditional festival of Sant’Antonio Abate celebrated in January, there is also the festival of wild boar where visitors can taste the aromatic meat accompanied by excellent wines of the area. There are also other typical local products such as malloreddus, cheese, bread, and desserts, especially the Su pani’ and saba are a symbol of the Sardinian confectionery art.
- Sea urchin festival: between February and March the city of Alghero celebrates the bogamarì, the Sardinian name for sea urchin, which together with coral is the protagonist of Rosso di mare, an event dedicated to two great symbols of the Sardinian Barceloneta. The festival is one of the most looked forward to events by the Algheresi and tourists who can taste excellent récipes with sea urchins in the city’s restaurants. Rosso di mare does not provide banquets at the port or in the streets of the city but takes place only in restaurants that join the event. The sea urchin is an increasingly rare product due to the impoverishment of the sea and illegal fishermen. To protect the delicate balance of the ecosystem, the local administration has decided to find ” the right compromise between the necessary need to conserve fish resources and the equally legitimate aspiration to make fishing and the delivery of the product adequately profitable ” .
- Zippola festival: in Narbolia, a municipality in the heart of Oristanese, every year is the festival of the Zippola (also called zipola or zeppola), one of the most representative sweets of the Sardinian carnival. The zippola is a baked and fried pancake that is sprinkled with sugar once cooked. A dessert that should be eaten immediately to enjoy its unmistakable flavor.
- Citrus Festival: in Muravera, a town in the Sarrabus sub-region of Sardinia, every April the arrival of spring is celebrated with the citrus festival, an unmissable event enriched by the colors of the wonderful costumes, jewelry made with filigree technique, carpets, and tapestries adorning the streets of the city. The event also includes a large parade of Tracas, decorated floats for the popular celebration.
- Festival of bread and cheese: in Burcei, a mountain village in South Sardinia about 50 km from Cagliari, the flavors of pastoral tradition are the protagonists of the bread and cheese festival taking place in May. Alongside the event being an opportunity to discover all the taste of local cheeses, there are also other local products such as zeppole. The program includes demonstrations of cheese preparation, murra tournaments, poetic competitions in limba, live music, Sardinian dances, and many exhibitors.
- Su Pa(n)i Arrubiu festival: on the 25th of April in the small town of Sini, in the province of Oristano, there is a festival dedicated to Su pani saba, the typical local sweet made with cooked must, almonds, raisins, and colored sugar ball decorations. An unmissable event which has been transformed into an eco-event over the years with the display of local products, from gastronomy to crafts, demonstrations of the various dessert processing stages, wine tastings of the best local wineries and workshops dedicated to the production of honey. A day full of music in addition to historical re-enactments, parades of folk groups accompanied by the sound of launeddas, and much more.
- Sagra de Su ischidu: the small town of Silanus, in the province of Nuoro, organizes a festival in May dedicated to Su Ischidu, a variety of fermented milk prepared by Sardinian shepherds with goat or sheep milk. Similar to yogurt and rich in lactic ferments, Su Ischidu has a creamy consistency and an acidic flavor. During the festival, one can also taste other local cheeses and local products. There are also photographic exhibitions and exhibitions of typical rural culture equipment and folk shows.
Do you want to discover the authentic taste of Sardinian cuisine and experience a holiday full of charm and elegance? Book your stay at Palazzo Doglio in Cagliari