Sardinia is well known for its festivals, both religious and secular. Some are spectacular with large crowds attending. Others are more laid-back affairs.
Food festivals seem almost boundless across the island. There’s a saffron festival in San Gavino Monreale, a potato festival in Gavoi and a bread and olive oil feast in Santadia, to name but a few. These festivals are held at the same time each year - June is the time for paying homage to the cherry and each autumn, chestnuts and snails are celebrated. In April, it is the turn of the sea urchin (ricci in Italian) and nougat.
The Sea Urchin Festival
Each year in April, hundreds flock to the west coast village of Buggeru for La Festa de Ricci, seeing this sleepy, former mining town spring into life. Trestle tables and benches are laid out around the port, while a huge team of volunteers clean and cook the locally caught fresh sea urchins. It’s a fabulous chance to try this popular Sardinian delicacy, with a glass of local wine, pasta served with a ricci sauce and some octopus tempura.
The Nougat Festival
For many centuries, Nougat, a sweet confection made from honey, almonds and egg whites, has been enjoyed throughout France, Spain, Italy and the Middle East. Its actual origin, however, is uncertain. In Italy, including Sardinia, it is known as Torrone. And in Sardinia, hazelnuts, as well as almonds, are used. You can find the recipe here, Sardinian torrone nougat. Each year on the 2nd Sunday after Easter (30th April in 2017) the ‘Nougat (Torrone) Festival’ is celebrated in Tonara in the province of Nuoro in Central Sardinia.
Photo credit: Claudio Stocco | Shutterstock
In Cagliari on April 28th, the Sa Die de Sa Sardigna is held. The day is celebrated in memory of a Sardinian insurrection that freed the island from Piedmont domination in 1794, first in Cagliari, with Alghero and Sassari soon following. Historic events are re-enacted throughout the day, with concerts and folklore shows in the evening. First held in Cagliari in 1993, the festival is now also celebrated in most major towns around the island.
Holy Week falls in April this year, starting with sas Prammas, the Palm Sunday Procession, commemorating when Jesus first entered Jerusalem. Throughout the following week, various traditional rituals and processions occur including those on Good Friday devoted to Christ’s death.
Easter Sunday celebrates the Resurrection with joyous processions seeing crowds of people applauding, throwing flowers and playing traditional instruments to accompany the statue of the risen Christ as it goes to meet the statue of the Madonna. Families then come together for a traditional meal. You can find out more about Easter in Alghero in our blog post The Holy Week in Alghero - a mystical Catalan event.
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Photo credit: Muro Morittu
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