The Cavalcata Sarda is the greatest secular event in Sardinia. Its roots lie in the parades on horseback through the streets of the city as part of the festivities organised in honour of rulers, such as that in 1711 in honour of Charles III who was victorious over Philip V. The first modern versions of the Cavalcata Sarda took place on the occasion of visits to the city of illustrious personalities, such as in 1899 for the inauguration of the monument to Vittorio Emanuele II in Piazza d’Italia, or the presence of Umberto I and Queen Margherita of Savoia, in which a large number of groups participated, almost exclusively from the province of Sassari. The events in 1929 and 1939 are also worthy of note; these were organised on the occasion of visits by members of the Royal Family. The Cavalcata Sarda was rediscovered at the start of the 1950s, as interest in tourism and culture increased in Sardinia; since then the event has taken place every year on the second last Sunday of the month of May.
The Cavalcata Sarda is different from the other events that take place throughout the year all over Sardinia, because it does not have religious associations: the procession is not related to a vow, but nevertheless has the majestic and profound traits of the Sardinian cultural tradition personified in the thousands of participants, who are the cornerstone to this great spring festival. Over the last century, the Cavalcata Sarda has earned the title “the festival of beauty”, a lavish display of the wealth and variety of traditional Sardinian costumes, the preciousness and beauty of the associated jewels, and the plethora of sounds and dances of the folk tradition.
On this Sunday morning the villagers and horse-riders in traditional costumes parade through the city streets, following a route that is more than 2 km long. There are more than 3,000 costumes, and all the municipalities of the island are represented. The result is an unforgettable show of colour and sound. Along the route the villagers in costume followed by the horse-riders greet the onlookers and the authorities, offering them traditional Sardinian products: bread, cakes and local delicacies. An impressive column of more than 300 horse-riders closes the procession. The early afternoon is dedicated to the pariglie. These take place at the Pinna Racetrack and consist of displays of horsemanship in which the most courageous Sardinian riders show their merit by doing acrobatic stunts on the backs of galloping horses. The event is accompanied by the Festival of Traditional Songs and Dances of Sardinia, in which folklore groups from around the island entertain the crowds with the island’s vast repertory of music and dance. The Festival starts on Friday and continues on Saturday and Sunday night in Piazza d’Italia where the sound of the launeddas (Sardinian reed instrument), the tenores (male choirs) and the accordion bring the festival to a close in an atmosphere which is both unique and unforgettable.
Cavalcata Sarda 2018
In 2018 the parade will take place on May 20th (Sunday), starting at 9 a.m. from corso Francesco Cossiga (former corso Regina Margherita di Savoia)
- Published in Traditions