Centuries-old ceremonial rites rooted in the Middle Ages and tinged with Spanish tradition come together in archaic Campidanian, Logudorenian and Barbagian traditions that date back to Nuragic paganism. During Holy week, from the coast to hinterland villages you will discover Sardinia’s most authentic essence and experience an itinerary of sacred rituals that revolve around the Passion of Christ. Holy Week in Alghero reveals its Spanish roots. It all starts on the Friday before Palm Sunday with the Addolorata Procession and ends at Easter with the Encontre. The Disclavament (deposition) is deeply emotional: the body of Christ is carried in procession on His deathbed and as the sun sets, the town is illuminated by glow of torches and lanterns draped in red veils.
Palm Sunday, eyes turned to the heavens as happened when Jesus entered Jerusalem, is an important moment of purification in Desulo, where gorgeous red costumes are donned by the women, and at Santu Lussurgiu, with the celebration of su Nazarenu, the via crucis accompanied by the chanting of Miserere and novenas. At Castelsardo the most heartfelt event is the Lunissanti. The original garments and rituals, the majestic processions and choirs of intense chanting will amaze you. Before sunrise, the brotherhoods gather at the Church of Santa Maria. Illuminated by candlelight, the church resounding with ancient chanting, you will experience the magic of a village that sits perched on a promontory over the sea. The procession is long and continues all day until it reaches the Basilica di Nostra Signora at Tergu. From the Anglona to the deepest part of Gallura: Aggius has preserved its secular ceremonies, like a tasgja choral chanting.
Cup, whip, crown of thorns, cross, chain, ladder and statues. These are the seven Mysteries, the symbols born in procession by the brotherhoods. They re-enact the passion and death of Christ as polyphonic a cuncordu choirs chant Miserere and Stabat Mater. Several towns in the Oristano region, like Aidomaggiore and Bortigali, Planargia and Montiferru, like Bosa, are known for their heart-wrenching processions portraying the Mysteries of Holy Tuesday. In Sassari the brotherhood accompany five statues which, according to tradition, date to 1685 and represent the events of the Passion. The procession is led by a brother pounding a drum, followed by others carrying Li Rocci, long staffs that set the rhythm of the precession.
The celebrations enliven the quarters of Cagliari starting on Good Friday with is Misterius: the seven simulacra pause at seven churches, stations of the via crucis. On Wednesday the sisters of the Most Holy Cross take care of Christ to get Him ready for s’Incravamentu (crucifixion). There are two important moments on Thursday and Friday: the procession of the simulacrum of Saint Efisio, protector of the city dressed in mourning, and the funerary procession to the Cathedral of Santa Maria. At Iglesias, the re-enactment of the Passion of Christ dates to the XVII century and is the year’s most important event. It remains a tradition today thanks to the coffarios, the brotherhoods. On Thursday afternoon they set the table for the Last Supper. Chenapura Santa (Friday) is dedicated to the mystery of the Cross: in the morning, the Germani walk up to the Costera quarter, re-enacting the suffering of the ascent, and in the evening they follow the Iscravamentu and Descenso, the funerary procession in the dark illuminated only by trembling torches.
In Cuglieri there is an equally emotional event in which the women sing the gosos of the mourning Madonna and the Miserere, while the men carry the candles. Saturday is devoted to the adoration of Jesus and the Cross, awaiting the s’Incontru. Easter is the day of Resurrection. As in towns all over Sardinia, here too an event of great emotional impact is celebrated with the ritual of the two processions, when the simulacrum of Christ Arisen and that of the Madonna cross paths. An emotional, heart wrenching pathos characterizes the encounters of the Baronie, at Galtellì and Orosei, and in the Barbagia of Nuoro, especially in Oliena and Sarule.