Through processions, religious rites, and cultural and culinary events, Orosei’s festivals offer an engaging and fascinating experience for visitors who wish to discover the richness of local traditions and immerse themselves in the lively festive atmosphere of the city.
Festival of Sant’Antonio Abate
Appointment: 16 January at the Church of Sant’Antonio Abate
It is one of the festivals in which a strong social and ritual impact is felt the most, linked to the preparation and lighting of a large bonfire in honour of the Saint.
Starting from the morning of the Epiphany with trucks and all kinds of other transportation, the inhabitants of the village, alone or in organized groups, collect and transport the wood which is placed inside the vast courtyard of S. Antonio: here, next to the tower, a tall cypress pole (su pirone) was previously planted.
On the afternoon of January 16, the eve of the liturgical feast, the imposing pile of wood will have taken on a conical shape with the apex surmounted by a large orange cross. At 17.30, immediately after vespers, the priest, preceded by the simulacrum, blesses the fire lit in several places.
The large crowd that follows the ceremony begins to take the three ritual laps around the bonfire, while, challenging the high flames, a group of boys ventures out to conquer the oranges of the cross.
SA CHITTA SANTA AND S’INCONTRU
Appointment: Easter at Piazza del Popolo
During the Holy Week celebrations, all the churches in Orosei are decorated with flowers, palm trees, olive branches, and characteristic nenneros, the plates on which grains of wheat or legumes are made to germinate in the dark and form stems of pale grass.
The Sepulchres, Sos Sepurcros are prepared, and the churches remain open to visits by the corfajos, the members of the Confraternities of the Holy Cross, of the Souls and of the Rosary, and by the entire population.
The white tunics of the three brotherhoods enliven the streets of the town in the two main processions of Holy Week: on Good Friday Su Brossolu takes place, featuring the Sorrowful Virgin and Christ Deposed from the Cross; while on Sunday morning, at the foot of the basalt staircase of the main church of the town, S’Incontru, the meeting between the Risen Jesus and Mary, takes place.
The sadness of the Friday rites contrasts with the festiveness of the Sunday celebrations, which take place amid the exultation of the crowd and the Tenor singing.
FESTIVAL OF SANT’ISIDORO
Appointment: 15 May or the closest Sunday at the church of the Grazie
It is a very simple procession that takes place on May 15 (or the closest Sunday) in honour of S. Isidoro the farmer, whose statue is in the church of the Graces.
From early morning the farmers, who in the past constituted the largest portion of the population, frenetically decorate their carts with all kinds of flowers. The carts will be yoked to oxen, which also will be garlanded and will have one or more bells around their necks. At the centre of the yoke there are always ears of corn, specially chosen and kept from the previous year. Loaded with boys in traditional costume, the carts converge outside the church of the Graces at around 10.30. The procession will start from here, taking a long route through the main streets of the town. The simulacrum of the saint is transported in the procession and the three brotherhoods also participate. The animals are blessed before the celebration of mass.
FESTIVAL OF SANTA MARIA ‘E MARE
Appointment: Last Sunday of May at Piazza del Popolo
A unique and deeply felt anniversary that has been observed by the faithful for over 40 years. It is one of the most evocative festivals in Sardinia, held in honour of the Madonna del Mare. The procession starts from the church of San Giacomo.
Preparation for the festival begins at 9 in the morning in Piazza del Popolo with sa mutatura, or the decoration of the fishermen’s boats with many coloured flowers, by the numerous volunteers and the florists of Sardinia. It continues around 5 pm with the characteristic procession of rowing boats on the Cedrino river, along a route of about 2 kilometres.
‘Embellished’ with the statue of the Virgin Mary, the boats lined up in a long row begin a slow journey towards the Pisan church of Santa Maria, near the mouth of the river.
FESTIVAL OF PATRON SAINT GIACOMO
Appointment: July 25 at the church of San Giacomo Apostolo
The festival in honour of San Giacomo Apostolo, patron saint of Orosei, is celebrated on July 25 with solemn and heartfelt religious celebrations and a rich calendar of civil events.
FESTIVAL OF MADONNA DEL RIMEDIO
Appointment: Second Sunday of September at Santuario su Rimediu
The festival of the Madonna del Rimedio takes place on the second Sunday of September and lasts 18 days.
The families of the village and the pilgrims who flocked from all over the island occupy the more than 80 cumbessias, called lozas in Orosei, built around the Church, to host those participating in the novena. The small lodgings built specifically for pilgrims near the churches and rural sanctuaries of Sardinia all overlook the church square: for two weeks this will be the theatre of life for various families, including from other countries.
The public holiday itself is a Sunday, and the main shows, including concerts and traditional dances, take place on the same day. It is an event that encompasses two weeks of life and faith together.
Alongside its traditional religious significance, the festival has been enriched to present a different entertainment programme for the faithful, the laity, and for tourists or occasional travellers every year.