Celebrating Easter in Sardinia – The Holy Week

Processione, Sergio.Poppi/Flickr

Processione, ©Sergio.Poppi/Flickr

On the island of Sardinia all major religious events are celebrated on a large scale. All the locals come together and take part in organizing and celebrating. In Sardinia every day of the Holy Week is celebrated one by one, starting from Palm Sunday and ending with Easter Sunday.

Being one of the most important events of the year the locals call Easter “Pasca Manna” (meaning big Easter), compared to Christmas, which is called little Easter, (Paschixèdda). During the Holy Week all towns and villages present and practice a set of liturgies, rites, traditions and folklore. If you choose to spend your Easter holiday on the island of Sardinia make sure you take part and experience the real Sardinian culture.

Dominiga e’Prama – Palm Sunday

The very first day of this one week long celebration is Palm Sunday. It is the day on which the world remembers and commemorates the event when Jesus went into Jerusalem on a donkey while the people laid down their clothes before him and greeted him with palm leaves shouting that he is the king of Israel. Every Palm Sunday Sardinian customs and traditions include passing out palm leaves and olive branches to the people which they keep for the whole year.

The procession to the church, Palm Sunday, Kate B Dixon/Flickr

The procession to the church, Palm Sunday, ©Kate B Dixon/Flickr

Lunis Santu – Holy Monday

Holy Monday is also celebrated all over the island however the main event takes place in Castelsardo, where the Procession of the Mysteries happens. The procession recalls the Passion of Jesus and its highlight is the evening part when all the lights in town are turned off, only torches being the sources of illumination at the statue of Jesus Christ. Attend the beautiful performance of choruses dressed up in costumes.

Martis Santu – Holy Tuesday

It is the third day of the Holy Week when the townspeople repropose the Procession of the Mysteries. The major ones happen in Cagliari, Alghero and Bosa.

Mercuris Santu – Holy Wednesday

Generally not only in Sardinia but in most countries Holy Wednesday or otherwise called Ash Wednesday is a day of mourning when people dress up in mourning clothes.

Ash Wednesday, Sarah Korf/Flickr

Ash Wednesday, ©Sarah Korf/Flickr

Giobia Santa – Maundy Thursday

On Maundy Thursday evening Jesus attended the last supper with his disciples. In Sardinia all the churches are ornamented with traditional mourning decorations: wheat germs of green and yellow colors. Wednesday night the people put wheat grains in cotton wool, put it in the dark and leave it for the night. The sprouts become yellowish and they get laced with colored ribbons.

Chenabura Santa – Good Friday

On Good Friday we commemorate the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. In Sardinia the locals remember this event by doing a s’Iscravamentu, meaning Deposition from the Cross. Depositions are artistic presentations of the scene when Jesus was taken off the cross. The major ones take place in the town of Alghero and Iglesias.

Sabadu Santu – Holy Saturday

In some towns and villages the depositions take place on Holy Saturday instead Good Friday. In other places the locals celebrate the paschal candle and listen to the chorus performances at midnight.

Blessing the Paschal Candle, goforchris/Flickr

Blessing the Paschal Candle, ©goforchris/Flickr

S’Incontru – Easter Sunday

It is the happy day when Jesus resurrected from the dead and the whole world including the island of Sardinia rejoices and celebrates. Everyone leaves their mourning clothes behind while the bells of the churches ring through every town and call the people for mass.

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