Lunissanti in Castelsardo, history and tradition of the Holy Week


Lunissanti in Castelsardo – After an unusual and long rainy winter finally fish signs of springs are in the air, as per titles we are not going to talk about real estate but we will take care of rituals and traditions that for hundreds of years are held precisely in the Holy Week before Easter in the medieval village of Castelsardo.

We are talking about Lunissanti a representation of the Passion of Christ, which boasts medieval origins. For the entire population of Castelsardo the day of Lunissanti is lived in a very emotional way, especially by the members of the Confraternity (Confraternita dell’ Oratorio di Santa Croce).

Twenty-four members that constitute this fraternity jealously guard the mysteries of the martyrdom of Christ and during the day Lunissanti they are proud to give life to the theatrical representation of the passion, crucifixion, death and deportation of Jesus Christ.

The day starts early in Castelsardo where, immediately after the sunrise, begins with the celebration of the first liturgical rites in the ancient church of the Benedictine better known as the church of Santa Maria, located in the middle of the old town.

Here the members of the Confraternity initiate the procession showing the mysteries according to a precise order and after a walk of 8km the group reach the church of Nostra Signora of Tergu, where later in the morning, the Bishop Sebastiano Sanguinetti celebrates the Mass and the mysteries are presented and offered to the Madonna.

The members of the Confraternity are divided in two groups of twelve each, Apostuli and Cantori (Singers), the singers are divided into three groups of four people each and perform brilliantly Gregorian chants during the entire day, they also accompany the passage of Apostuli.

After the Mass is common to have lunch in the meadows near the church that even on a day where strong mistral wind is blowing has seen a massive influx of spectators. Around three o’clock the procession reform to make the return to Castelsardo where we arrived before the sunset.

The spectators and the members of Confraternity goes into the cathedral of Sant’Antonio where once again are presenting the mysteries of Christ’s passion. As soon as the night falls the lights goes out in the old town, and in a surreal atmosphere the procession restart with the entire village magically lit by the torches handed by young girls (Consorelle) and few candles scattered in the streets of the old town. Surely this is the most striking part of the day where the the singers with the echo resounds through the narrow streets of the old town and it is here that you have the last chance to see the mysteries in a wonderful gothic atmosphere.

The procession ends exactly where it began in the morning and that is, in the church of Santa Maria, where the Confraternity members are concerned with storing the mysteries that will be treasured throughout the year and will not be visible to anyone until next Lunissanti.

At the end of the procession, the members goes to have a dinner together in an old house for the one that is the representation of the Last Supper. During the Holy Week the medieval village gives strong emotions and feeling to its many visitors, Castelsardo during this week is on of the most visited town of the whole Sardinia Island.

This year we got to touch one of the best events of the island that the traditions handed down from year to year and from century to century. A strong presence of many tourists from different European countries are the framework for this wonderful event marked by the Spanish origins, where for example in the city of Seville is held yearly a representation very similar.