Language & Culture
The first language of Sardinia is Italian, although the Sardinian language, Sardo, is still widely spoken. A remarkably rich language, Sardo varies greatly from area to area, even from village to village, with Latin, Arabic, Spanish and Catalan influences reflecting the turbulence of the island's past.
Festivals & Events in Sardinia
Sardinians are friendly and polite with a strong sense of tradition and a passion for their island. This is reflected in their many festivals and events that take place throughout the year. Sardinians love to indulge in good food which is not surprising when you sample their delicious produce. Families play an important part in society and it is not uncommon to see groups of family and friends gathering for an enormous feast on Sunday.
Life in Sardinia is unpretentious and simple compared to that of other countries. Many islanders are still employed in the agricultural industry and you may notice that there are few or no extremes of wealth. That said, Sardinia is a warm and welcoming island, rich in tradition that will dazzle you with its beauty and leave you wanting more.
Sardinia, like much of mainland Italy, is a fiercely Christian society with most of the population being Roman Catholic with a good proportion of the population still attending Sunday mass.
Yet because of the island’s intensely vivid sense of its past, many of the religious festivals are imbued with a strongly pagan feel, and can be a real sight to behold.
There are a good number of small chapels dotted around the Sardinian countryside, called chiese novenari – most of which would be very easy to miss, except during times of pilgrimage. At these times the small lodgings that surround these chapels fill with pilgrims who have come to venerate the saint honoured in the church. You may also spot various roadside shrines, often portraying the Virgin Mary.
The Map of Sardinia
The Sardinian flag is made up of a white background with a red cross and four Moor’s heads facing outward on each section of the cross. These Moor’s heads are interpreted as the representation of the defeated Saracen invaders of Sardinia. The Sardinian flag has been used since the 14th century and is still in use today. It is one of the oldest flags in Europe. The flag is also known as the flag of the Four Moors. The original flag depicted the heads facing left, however around the 1800 and during the reign of the House of Savoy, the heads moved to face the right and the bandanas were moved down to act as blindfolds. This was either due to a copyist mistake or an act of defiance to mainland rulers, similar to that depicted on the flag of Corsica. In 1999 regional law changed the flag back to the original version depicting the bandanas on the heads.
The Sardinian people, also known as “sards” are proud of their cultural identity and traditions. The second largest island in the Mediterranean is home to around 1.6million people. Known as a “Blue Zone” Sardinia has been found to have an extraordinarily high number of centenarians. This may be due to the Sardinians lifestyle. They take care of their elders, and often have them live in the family home, rather than placing them in traditional residential care. However just because older Sardinians live in the family home, they are still put to work well into their old age, by doing smaller tasks, such as tending to the garden or cooking. Due to the mountainous landscape, and the active “shepherd’s lifestyle”, Sardinians frequently get low and medium intensity exercise. Diet, whilst not a huge part of the reason for longevity of life, does play a part. Often referred to as a “peasants diet” their traditional meals consist of pork, lamb and beef, grains, pasta, beans, cheese, bread and greens. Lunch is the biggest meal of the day with Sardinians gathering as families for the occasion, and is often three courses consisting of meat, salad, and pasta. Sardinians take a relaxed approach to work and have a very health work life balance. Men are largely the breadwinners with women residing within the home to take care of the children. Sardinians are very welcoming people and will often go out of their way to make sure guests or tourists are well looked after, always wanting to give the best experience. Resilience is one of the biggest traits of the Sardinian people. This could be due to the large number of invasions the island has been subjected to in history. They kept their distinct identity and cultural traditions despite being challenged by invaders.
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