Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Carnival and Sartiglia in Sardinia

Sardinia has been enjoying their annual 'Carnevale' season which coincides with Shrove Tuesday with colourful parades and festivities throughout the island.

One of the most spectacular carnival events in Sardinia is the 'Sartiglia', a horse race which takes place in Oristano on the last Sunday of the carnival. The origins of this frenetic horse race stem from the middle ages when the Saracens introduced it to Sardinia during 1118 to 1200 AD.
The 'su Componidori' is the protagonist of the event. Girls in traditional costumes dress the "su Componidori” in an elegant traditional outfit with a wooden white mask.

The 'su Componidori' and other horse riders will try to catch a star which is hanging above the race grounds, with their spears and sticks. The star is a symbol of prosperity so every rider will attempt to collect as many as possible.

This year the Sartiglia was led by a woman, Elisabetta Sechi, as the 'su Componidori' on Tuesday 16th February. The Sartiglia on Sunday 14th February was led by Mauro Secchi. The other riders, 'Componidoris', were nominated at the 'Festa della Candelora' held on 2nd February.

For more information visit

BBC Day in Pictures today showed a picture of a masked rider from the the Sartiglia in Sardinia.

For more information about festivals in Sardinia visit