Easter and Holy Week in Sardinia: ancient and Christian rituals

Holy week rituals are still really vivid in Sardinia. For example, in Cagliari 3 brotherhoods, belonging to the town’s quarters, lead the processions.

The Easter Mysteries plays are an heritage of the Spanish domination  and it starts with the blessing of the palms  at a solemn mass on Palm Sunday. Rituals are enriched by the polyphonic choirs (Cantori), performing ancient songs with lyrics about Christ’s passion with the music technique called faburden or fauxbourdon.

The Confraternity of the Holy Crucifix held the first procession on the Friday before Palm Sunday: seven 18th century statues are brought to seven other churches in town. The Confraternita della Solitudine on the Holy Friday will go from the Church of San Giacomo with the statues of Christ and the Virgin to the Cathedral. On Easter Monday, 2 different processions will bring the statues of Christ and the Virgin who will be meet in front of the church.

On Easter Sunday, on the church altars you will see small vases, called Su Nenniri, full of flowers and grains grown in the dark with a wonderful, intense emerald green color.  Symbols of rebirth and resurrection they are from the ancient pagan cult of the God Adonis.

The Alghero Easter Rituals includes the mystery plays, which are performed in the churches located in the ancient quarter by the 16th century brotherhood (the Jermans Blancs or Conraternita della Misericordia), which will sing ancient songs in Catalan. The first procession “de las damas” on Friday evening on the week before Easter includes a parade of women dressed in black clothes carring the Virgin from the church of San Francesco across the narrow alleys of the old town. On Good Friday the statue of Christ has brought from the Misericordia Church to the altar’s Cathedral for the Ceremony of the alburament. In the afternoon the mass “missa-fugi-fugi” in the Cathedral will be held before another procession through the old town. In the night procession, pilgrims and the brothers will hold lit candles all wrapped in red paper (“farols”).

Lunisanti at Easter is a ritual held in Castelsardo on the night of Holy Monday. In Santa Maria di Tergu, located in the countryside outside Castelsardo, you will see the mystery plays and mass, and then from there a long parade goes to the old town bastion wall, and goes back to the church where everybody has lunch. In the late afternoon the procession leaves the church again to go back into town: here only candles and lamps are lit along the streets. The brotherhood Confraternita di S. Croce in their long white hooded tunics will in two choirs of 24 members each (the Cantori and the Apustuli), singing  medieval songs.


Leave a Reply

All Rights Reserved Copyright © 2008/2014