This parade of folkloristic groups from all over Sardinia exhibiting their colours and traditional costumes takes place the third Sunday in May. The origins of the parade date back to the late 1800s’ when king Umberto I and Margherita di Savoia during an official visit to Sardinia were offered an equestrian manifestation. The festival did not take place again until the mid 1900s’ when the members of the Rotary Club in Sassari organised a similar event for fellow members visiting the Island for a conference. It was such a success that the event has become a permanent appointment on the calendar of Sardinian festivals.
The parade is grand with many groups from all areas of Sardinia taking part and filling the streets of Sassari with their colours, red for the Barbagia region, green for Campidano, blue for Sulcis and black for Gallura. The typical costumes enriched with embroidery and handmade jewellery are similar in substance, but the details are fine and particular to the place of origin. The costume is in fact the trademark of a village with many varieties to represent the identity of a place. The typical female costume is usually a veil or shawl to cover the head, a pleated long skirt with a hand embroidered apron. Men wear woollen black trousers and waistcoat, white shirt with puffy sleeves and a beret.
The festival lasts all day, with the parade in the morning through the streets culminating in Piazza Italia, the square that the locals refer to as the “Lounge” of Sassari. In the afternoon the celebrations continue in the form of equestrian games and exhibitions at the hippodrome. Folkloristic dances and songs illuminate the evening until the early hours.
This festival is seen by Sardinian people as a celebration of spring.
3rd Sunday of May Sassari city centre