Last update: Wednesday, January 08, 2014 - Comments (3)
Sartiglia is an equestrian game of ancient origins: apparently, the Crusaders introduced it in the Western world between 1118 and 1200. As a result, the tournament might have Saracen origins.
It is an equestrian joust for a ring hung along the track at the height of a man on horseback.
Sartiglia riders have to run a lance or a sword through a metal star. This kind of challenge knew a widespread success in Spain, where local youth competed against moor knights. Indeed, the name of Sartiglia itself derives from the
Catalan Sortilla, coming, in turn, from the Latin sorticula, meaning 'ring' but it is also the diminutive of sors (luck). The name of the supreme chief of the tournament recalls the Iberian tradition, too: su Cumpoidori, from componedor, the field master of Spanish sortija.
The evolution of Sartiglia follows the historical events entailing the development of feudal-knightly structures. An expression of noble and ruling class folklore in its earliest period, Sartiglia became shortly popular within middle and lower classes. According to the tradition, a canonical instituted a donation as a prerogative of Famers' Guild for the maintenance of Sartiglia, in order to subsidize a rich lunch to be offered to the knights taking part to the
Tournament. Still today, the Guild avails itself of the bequest (su Cungiau de sa Sartiglia) for the maintenance of the event. On Sunday, the race is run under the protection of St. John the Baptist, while on Tuesday the Guild of Carpenters is the organizer of the event, protected by St. Joseph.
Sartiglia is a magical feast: colours, symbols, metaphors, skilfulness and culture intermingle between the sacred and the profane, in a charming mix of values, wishing that the imminent spring and harvests may reveal the prosperity of fields once again.
Every year, on Sunday and Tuesday of the ending Carnival, Oristano attracts the whole Sardinia in town. The joust is felt with an extraordinary enthusiasm, that actually lasts throughout a whole year, especially in circles working on the backstage: Guilds, associations, authorities, stables and riders' families.
All these elements can be strongly perceived and the atmosphere of the feast is enthralling and charming. Indeed, during the hours before the race, the city streets echo with blasts and rolls of trumpeters and drummers. The race must be run, no matter if in the sunshine or in the rain. The director of Sartiglia is su Componidori. The two Guilds choose and select, among a number of aspirants, those who are to wear the garments of head of the tournament, who will finally put on a fascinating and androgynous mask. The dressing is a mythical rite.
He is the Master of the feast, man and woman at the same time, neither male nor female. An ancient ritual has to be followed, its peak being the head of the tournament's dressing, on the challenge day. It is a rite full of sacredness: the horseman gets dressed upon a table a real altar adorned with flowers and signs of the feast, carefully prepared by the Oberaju Majori and all those who cooperate with the Guild. There is plenty of wheat and floral decorations all around. Vernaccia is abundantly poured out. Traditional sweets are offered, while every step of the ceremony is emphasized according to a strict ritual. Once dressed, the king of Sartiglia mounts his horse: he must not to touch the ground until the end of the day, when undressing will be concluded.
The horseman's dressing is cared for by Massaieddas, young girls wearing a Sardinian costume, directed by an expert woman called Massaia manna. The head of the tournament is not even allowed to touch his clothes. It is a real ceremony, a long rite to be followed in silence. Once the dressing is completed, su Cumpoidori crosses the threshold on horseback, wearing a black top hat, a mantiglia, a rich shirt trimmed with lace, a waistcoat, a broad leather belt and a mask framed by a silk band. His hands hold sa pippia de maju, a bunch of periwinkle wrapped in a green cloth, onto which a double bunch of violets is inserted, as a symbol of spring fecundity: it
will be used to bless the crowd and the horsemen with the sign of the cross. The head of the tournament is aided by su Segundu and su Terzu Cumpoi, riding by his sides in the cortege unwinding on the joust route, towards Sa Sea Manna (Via Duomo), where the star is hung.
The head of the tournament passes under the star for three times, crossing his sword with his field assistant's. Su Componidori has the honour of leading off the race for the star. Then it will be the turn of his assistants and, finally, the sword will be assigned to the chosen riders. Traditionally, the number of stars caught has a symbolic meaning revealing harvest abundance. The last round for the star is run with su stoccu, a spear made of carved wood. Before the daring Pariglie (pairs or groups of three horses), running until sunset along the nearby Via Mazzini, su Componidori is expected to put himself to the test of sa remada. Lying flat, his back on horse's back, the king of Sartiglia will ride down the track at a gallop, blessing the crowd. Only then will Sartiglia be officially concluded, its rite being definitively assigned to history and to the memory of the whole city.
Fondazione Sa Sartiglia
Casella Postale 33 OR Centro
Comune di Oristano
Piazza E. d'Arborea, 44
emanuele at Monday, February 19, 2007 wrote:
Straordinaria!!!...ho fatto tantissima strada per vederla(da Porto Cervo)...ma ne è valsa veramente la pena...Correndo a destra e a sinistra son riuscito a scattare fotografie eccezzionalmente "espressive"naturalmente tutte rigorosamente senza flash!!...(Rispettiamo le richieste degli organizzatori!!!!!). Invito chiunque a lasciare per un momento qualsiasi tipo di attività e recarsi a vedere la Sartiglia... è un evento che nn ci si può di certo perdere. Complimenti ancora...anche agli organizzatori..veramente impeccabili. a presto!!
Valentina at Friday, February 02, 2007 wrote:
Salve! Questo sarà il 3 anno che andrò alla sartiglia...é bellissima!! la consiglio a tutti coloro che non gradiscono i carri e le maschere,ma vogliono godersi uno spettacolo pieno di bellissimi vestiti della nostra tradiz. cavalli e tnt altro...io ci vado in treno da ca con le amiche..Sardi e continentali non xdetevela, passerete una splendida giornata.
Silvia at Monday, February 27, 2006 wrote:
Buongiorno, ho assistito alla Sartiglia del 26 e sono rimasta favorevolmente impressionata, nonostante non sia riuscita praticamente a vedere bene nulla per via della grande folla. L'unico suggerimento che mi sento di dare è quello di utilizzare dei mega schermi per la cerimonia di vestizione de su Componidori, perchè stare in piedi, all'aperto per circa tre ore senza vedere assolutamente nulla, se non l'ingresso e l'uscita del fortunato, non è proprio il massimo dei passatempi!!! Vi auguro buon lavoro