This year fell on April 22nd, but the feast of Sant’Isidoro in Ghilarza, Sardinia, is not always on the same date. Usually set on the second Sunday after Easter, the feast in honor of farmers’ patron is celebrated in different days throughout Sardinia. In Sedilo, for example, only 13 km away from Ghilarza, Sant’Isidoro is always in May and, apparently, with a wonderful ceremony.
The parade that in Ghilarza takes place on the second Sunday after Easter is the last performance of the religious celebrations in honor of the saint. The horses come first, some obedient some more “independent”, followed by tractors and bulls embellished by flowers and ears of wheat to symbolize farmers’ work. After the bulls is the parade of traditionals costumes, different for each village, and finally the priest, his helpers and the townspeople praying and closing the procession.
Lined up on the sides are men blank shooting with their rifles all along the way, friendly noise that made me temporarily deaf while I was taking pictures from my privileged press gallery, my balcony.
I think it’s appropriate to say that townspeople in Ghilarza (and in all of Sardinia) have a knack for organizing local festivals, every month there is at least one, some lasting even ten days on a row. All festivals have a religious background but, as it happens, some come from pagan rituals that Christianity incorporated because unable to erase them.