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Feast of Sant'Efisio in Sardegna
Where it is going to be celebrated?
The Feast of Sant'Efisio in Sardegna
The Feast of Sant'Efisio is the most important religious procession of Cagliari and Sardinia, celebrating every year, starting from 1st of May. In this Feast, as the Redeemer in Nuoro, the Feast of San Simplicio in Olbia, the Feast of Sant'Antioco in Sant'Antioco and the Sardinian Cavalcade in Sassari, are involved groups wearing their traditional costumes from all over Sardinia. This Feast is one of the most antic and old in Italy and with its at about 65 km walks in 4 days is the most long in the Mediterranean Sea.
The Story of the Feast of Sant'Efisio
It is said that in 1656 the Sardinians prayed Sant'Efisio to defeating the terrible wave of plague, propagated on the island since 1652 due to some Catalan sailors affected by the disease and landed in Alghero on a merchant sailing ship. The epidemic infected the whole of Sardinia, Cagliari in particular, that killed at about ten thousand inhabitants, with almost half the city's population. The first victim was the Archbishop of Cagliari Don Bernardo De La Cabra. Meanwhile Cagliari was turning into a huge cemetery. Giovani Spano wants at this point Sant'Efisio appeared to the Vicerè Conte of Lemos to request, in order to liberate the city from the plague, the vote of the procession on 1 May. The Municipality of Cagliari in 1656 had promised to Sant'Efisio that if he could defeat the plague each year would be held a procession and festivities in his honor, starting from Stampace (quarter of Cagliari) to Nora, where the saint was martyred. In September with the heavy rains the plague disappeared and from the following year on 1 May started the First Feast of Sant'Efisio. It was chosen to make the Feast in May as a symbol of regeneration of nature.
How do they prepare for the Feast of Sant'Efisio?
Preparations for the procession are managed by the association Arciconfaternita Gonfalone. Preparations begin on April 30 with the clothing of the Saint and the addition of gems gold like an offer to the promise. After the President of Arciconfaternita greater the statue inside the chariot. On the morning of 1st of May "Su Corradori" decorates the oxen that will carry the chariot to Nora. Then the Third Guardian, accompanied by "Sa Guardianìa" goes to the municipality where he waits for the Alter Nos. Together then they go to the small church of Stampace where the Mass will be celebrated.
The Procession starts on 1st of May. At about 40 festively decorated chariots drive off to Nora, drawn by oxen. Then come the dancers, at about 5500 people with the traditional Sardinian costumes, from all over the island that usually recite the rosary or sing goccius. After them are following the knights, the knights of the campidano, and then followed by the militias. After them arrives the members of Guardianìa and in the first line is the Third Guardian holding the Banner of the brotherhood. Then comes the Alter Nos, the representative of the Mayor. After the riders parade members of the Arch preceded by a brother holding a crucifix of 1700. The arrival of the chariot is preceded by the sound of launeddas. When the chariot comes in via Roma is greeted by the sirens of ships docked in the port of Cagliari, and it is walking on a carpet of rose petals.
The journey to Nora and the return to Stampace
- On May 1 from Cagliari chariot goes to Giorgino. Here the jewelery are stripped and the clothes are replaced with simpler ones. The Statue is then transferred to one country chariot.
- The statue continues on a military truck up to La Maddalena in which the saint meets the faithfuls from Capoterra. This transfer truck was necessary because after the construction of the port channel has been interrupted the old road to Pula.
- Then Sant'Efisio is accompanied to the church of Su Loi where it is celebrated the mass.
- The chariot then arrives at Villa d'Orri where it is celebrated Benediction.
- The parade is continuing the trip to Sarroch where the statue spend the night.
- On May 2 the Procession is continuing to Villa San Pietro, where a mass is celebrated after the procession through the streets of the village and then it is accompanied in procession up to Pula.
- A mass is celebrated in the Church of St. Giovanni the Baptist in Pula. Then the chariot gets around 21.00 to Nora.
- Throughout May 3 is the commemoration of the saint and at 18.00 the saint is carried in procession through the ruins of Nora.
- On May 4 the Saint starts for Cagliari, where it will arrive at about 21.00.
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Map of the Church of Sant'Efisio in Cagliari
Map of the Church of Sant'Efisio in Nora