February 5, 2008 – La Sartiglia

The carnival takes place on various date, starting this year on the 5th of February. It is held in Oristano, Italy. Oristano is the city capital of the antique Giudicato of Arborea, and hosts the famous La Sartiglia equestrian show every year. It is on the Penisula of Sinis, with its famous beaches of Is Arutas, made of granules of quartz, and , where the antique ruins of Tharros face into the sea.

La Sartiglia
La Sartiglia
On the last Sunday and the Tuesday of Carnival, Oristano hosts La Sartiglia, one of the most spectacular carnival events in Italy. More than a simple celebration of carnival rites, a reenactment of a medieval tournament or an exhibition of horsemanship, it is a collection of traditional and cultural elements handed down over the centuries, deeply significant for the local people.

The word sartiglia derives from the Latin words sorticola which means ring, and sors – luck. This is a festival linked to luck, praying for fertile grounds and abundant crops, but also incorporating the idea of a race for a special ring.

The ancient traditions centre around the unique main character, the King of Sartiglia (Su Compoidori) and his androgynous mask, neither man nor woman. The figure is decorated with wheat and flowers, set on a table which acts as an altar, and from that moment is not allowed to touch the ground until the end of the race, a demigod to give good luck and banish evil spirits. A string of races and other celebrations take place throughout the day.

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