Cavalcata Sarda is an old cultural and folkloristic event that takes place in Sassari, usually the third Sunday of May, which consists in the parade on foot, on horseback or on traccas (the characteristic floats decorated with flowers and everyday objects) and groups from all over Sardinia. The participants wear the typical costumes of the place of origin, often enriched by manicured embroidery and filigree jewelry.
The event continues in the afternoon in the hippodrome city where horses and riders perform in pairs and daring acrobatics, to end in the evening in the Piazza of Italy with Sardinian traditional songs and dances, to the tune of launeddas and accordions, that go on for good part of the night.
According to the writer Enrico Costa, the first edition of the Ride it goes back to 1711, when the City Council of Sassari, at the end of Spanish rule, resolved to “make ride” in homage to King Philip V of Spain. At the event he took part all sassarese nobility, proud to show off their costumes. The event that we see today instead born in 1899 on the occasion of the visit of King Umberto I of Italy accompanied by his wife Queen Margherita of Savoy, came to town for the inauguration of the monument to Vittorio Emanuele II that Giuseppe Sartorio had raised in the Piazza of Italy. In fact it was a tribute to the king by all the Sardinian people, which is not shared by all, being Sassari one of the first anti-royalist strongholds of Italy.
However, with the passage of time the custom was consolidated becoming a folklore parade of traditional costumes of Sardinia, until it assumed an annual basis and to become one of the best known and highly cultural and tourist events of the island. They still added many sellers of typical Sardinian food and a show of pairs held municipal hippodrome. In 1982 they organized even two, one of which is in honor of Sandro Pertini, the then President of the Italian Republic.
The Ride is one of the three main parties of Sardinia which brings together folk groups of the island with the difference compared to the other two – the Feast of the Redeemer in Nuoro and the Sant’Efisio Festival in Cagliari, is the ‘ only one to have a purely secular character and not anchored to motives and religious origins.
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