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Friday, April 5th, 2013

Sa Chida Santa: Easter in Sardinia

Sa Chida Santa: Easter in SardiniaEaster is one the most heartfelt events in Sardinia. During the “Settimana Santa” (Holy Week), or “Sa Chida Santa” in Sardinian, the island is riddled with events, rituals and celebrations, starting from the “Domenica delle Palme” (Palm Sunday) or “Dominiga `e Prama”. Palm Sunday consists in the blessing of small olive tree branches and woven palm that are distributed amongst devoted followers in order to be burned the following year, according to tradition.

An important event is the Monday procession which takes place in all town centres of the island and which recalls “Su Scravamentu” or the “Passione del Cristo” (The Passion of Christ). Those who take part in the celebrations wear highly striking medieval costumes and are accompanied by choral chants for the entire duration of the procession.

As in many other Sardinian communities, Holy Wednesday forsees mourning processions and is followed by Holy Thursday, a day dedicated to fitting churches with traditional decorations. These decorations, created with wheat sprouts and adorned with colourful ribbons, are then placed on the tombs of deceased loved ones.

The rituals that take place on Good Friday and Holy Saturday instead celebrate the “Deposizione”, or the day that Christ “rested” physically in the tomb. All over the island you can witness realistic representations accompanied by particular movable statues of Christ, created specifically for the Easter rituals and of esteemed artistic make.

Holy Sunday, called “S’Icontru” in Sardinian, is the day of true celebration. Bells ring joyfully and all effigies of the “Madonna Addolorata” or The Blessed Virgin Mary are stripped of their original mournful garments in order to celebrate the encounter between the Virgin Mary and Christ.

Sa Chida Santa: Easter in SardiniaAs for every Sardinian festivity worthy of its name, a typical festive desert just cannot be forgotten. For these celebrations, the “le Pardulas” are the desserts of choice and consist of little puff pastries stuffed with citrus ricotta cheese baked in the oven. These are then sprinkled with icing sugar or covered with honey and are particularily delicious when eaten with a good Carignano del Sulcis passito, an excellent red wine typical of the Sardinian capital of Cagliari.

In addition, what is truly typical is the use of the little seven-legged doll of bread called “sa pippia”, which represents the Easter equivalent to the Advent calendar. This doll of bread is in fact given to children that, by breaking off and eating a leg of bread every day, share the festive atmosphere of anticipation that embraces Sardinia during the Holy Week.

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