One hundred and thirteen years have passed since the first Cavalcata Sarda took place to honor King Umberto 1 and Queen Margherita, who made a visit to Sardegna in 1899. This colourful folk festival is held on the second-last Sunday of May, every year.
For close to an hour traditional costumes from various towns all over Sardinia paraded their wares for the world to see. It was a beautiful display of colour and music. It was also the first year in over ten years that the procession part of the Cavalcata Sarda was cancelled due to weather.
We were extremely disappointed that the horses were not paraded with the procession but when the rain falls in Sardinia it’s heavy and relentless. Click here to see last years Cavalcata Sarda, with horses!
Traditionally, there was a large horse race throughout town, where thousands of manned horses would speed through the cobblestone streets of Sassari. In the last few years the comune deemed this activity dangerous and moved the horse race to the Ippodromo (Domed stadium) in Sassari.
Sassari welcomes hundreds of horse-men and horse-women from every part of Sardinia. The procession begins with the folk groups, dressed in multi-coloured traditional costumes embellished with jewels and amulets. With them, they carry the traditional labour of the area(s): kindling for the fire, old-fashioned baked breads, vines from the vineyard, walking sticks, local cheese and wines.
Traditional Sardinian music and singing is played out before the judging panel. Each town gives their best performance with the glory going to only one.
Despite the rain and millions of umbrellas it was still a fantastic colourful display of Sardinian rites, traditions and mysterious folklore.
Have you been to Cavalcata Sarda?