Oristano's Sartiglia: A Historic Equestrian Competition 0 Comments

Oristano's Sartiglia: A Historic Equestrian Competition

The Sartiglia is an equestrian competition that takes place in Oristano on the last Carnival Sunday (under the protection of St. John the Baptist, protector of farmers) and on Mardi Gras (under the protection of St. Joseph, protector of carpenters). Equestrian games with horses embellished with ribbons arrived in Sardinia in the fourteenth century with the Spaniards. They were opposed by the Church, for their playful involvement and the love developments because it was believed they were alienating people from work. In Oristano, Carnival and Sartiglia form a whole. But the Sartiglia is not just Carnival, it is not only perpetuating the medieval jousts with intrepid horsemen. The Sartiglia is the memory, it is the cultural heritage passed on for hundreds of years. In Oristano, it is an event lived with passion since the days of the Giudicato d'Arborea (read about it here: Eleanor of Arboreawhere the pagan rituals coexist and mix with the Christian ceremonies. The origin of the Sartiglia of Oristano is the game of the ring, from the Castilian sortija, but it is connected to the propitiation of the harvest.

Su Componidori is the true protagonist of the race. Wearing, during a public dressing, an androgynous terracotta mask that makes him both a man and a woman at the same time, leather shoes, a white shirt under the jacket and a white veil with a black cylinder on top, he chooses and guides the other riders who will compete to stab a five-pointed star with the sword. The carousel is of chivalrous origin and the rhythm of the drums and the sounds of the trumpets mark every moment of the race and also have a safety function, alerting the crowd to clear the path to avoid accidents with the riders during the race. At the end of the Sartiglia, su Componidori recomposes the pairs that start their performance by making evolutions on launched at a galloping horse. The only not performing trio is the su Componidori one, who, by rule, must not risk falling and touching the ground.

"These dour and inflexible men, who need frankness, justice and freedom" (Nino Savarese)


Written by Daniela Toti

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