Mamuthones in Mamoiada, Italy

Italy, Sardina, Mamoiada, Feb 2008

Every year on the night between January 16 and 17 in most of Sardinia are fires that are blessed outside of the parish churches and the faithful walk around them reciting the ‘I think’ three times. It is the oldest religious holiday and felt the island: it is the feast of St. Anthony Abbot born in ancient times as a propitiatory rite for the new crop year. On this occasion in Mamoiada, in Barbagia, come out “sos mamuthones” and “sos isshadores” typical masks, with their rhythmic music, are launching the carnival wandering among the great fires in churchyards. The mamuthones wear a sheepskin jacket and an anthropomorphic mask, and back have many bells that can weigh 20 / 25chili. Very different is the dress of isshadores, which are characterized by a red jacket, and an embroidered shawl tied at the waist. Their mask is white and tied a handkerchief to his chin that holds placed on the head of a Sardinian beret. They feature laces with which try to capture young girls as a good omen of good health and fertility. The parade follows is a solemn ceremony, complex, halfway between dance and procession, a ritual that some say dates back to the age nuragica as a gesture to protect themselves from evil spirits or to propitiate the harvest.