17 Jul Faradda di li Candareri. The discent of the candelieri in Sassari on August 14th. An event not to be missed!
Faradda di li Candareri
It is the highlight of the summer of Sassari, an eve of mid-August dedicated to the oblative candles, that have been celebrating the half-summer festival in Sassari for about 8 centuries. Every year, on the 14th of August, the city of Sassari stops for its “Descent of the Candlesticks” (or “Faradda di li Candareri” in Sassari). Eleven large wooden votive candles are carried on their shoulders by the respective Gremi along the streets of the historical city center, from Piazza Castello to the church of Santa Maria di Bethlem, to dissolve the vow to the Madonna who, five hundred years ago, freed the city of Sassari from the plague.
The Gremi are the corporations of the arts and crafts of Sassari, whose number has changed a lot throughout the history of the city. The candlesticks are currently 10 after the entrance of the Gremio dei Fabbri in 2007. The other corporations represented are the Gremio dei Contadini, that of the Viandanti, the one of the Massai, that of the Tailors, of the masons, the travelers, the rock-climbers, the ortolani and carpenters. Just the Gremi, with their old-fashioned clothes, and the screaming crowd, who throughout the journey acclaims and incites the bearers in their dance, are the most important protagonists of this great party, true and profound symbol of the city’s identity, so much so that it became in 2013 Intangible Heritage of humanity protected by UNESCO.
The descent of candelieri
The Descent of Candelieri, actually, has Tuscan origins, and more precisely dates back to the time of the maritime republics. Sassari in the eleventh and twelfth centuries was under the dominion of Pisa. In fact, the Pisans introduced the tradition of the oblation of candlesticks. On the occasion of the Feast of the Assumption they had the custom of offering to the church of Santa Maria di Pisa a quantity of virgin wax, which would then be used in liturgical activity of the church. The Pisans left Sassari and Sardinia, after the resounding defeat against the Genoese, in the battle of the Meloria of 1284, but the tradition of the candles remained intact. The wax, brought to the church with a solemn ceremony on wooden machines, was also modeled in an artistic way. Over the years the Faradda has evolved: the wax, too expensive, was replaced by wood, and eventually the candles, turned into candlesticks, and carried in procession through the city streets, have become a true show of folklore, which brightens the streets of Sassari and brightens the Sardinian summer right at the height of the holiday season.
The procession is open by the band. Each chandelier, accompanied by the sound of the drum (and for the travelers also from the pipe), performs many evolutions during the journey, swinging in the crowd, turning on itself (thus wrapping the tapes or bets coming down from the top) or changing rapidly direction. According to an old tradition, the candlestick will be baddarinu (dancer), plus the vintage will be good. You arrive at Piazza Azuni and continue along Corso Vittorio Emanuele II to Porta Sant’Antonio and through Corso Francesco Vico until you reach the church of Santa Maria di Betlem.