Sartiglia is undoubtedly the most spectacular and choreographic Carnival in Sardinia. This festival evokes faded recollections of duels and Crusades, Spanish colors, echoes of a long lost nobility and agropastoral costumes that overlap as if film sequences had been set up randomly.
What does the name Sartiglia or Sartilla (as it used to be called in Oristano) mean? This word derives from the Castilian word "Sortija" which originates from the Latin word "Sorticola" which means ring and Sors which means luck. The meaning of the word "Sartiglia" really includes the sense of competition, which is a race to the ring, to the star, but also it is a festival linked to luck. It is an event in which ancient agricultural rites, through which the people used to ask the Gods for fertile land and abundant crops, are easy to be found.
  Images of the Sartiglia of Oristano
Photo from the book: Sagre di Sardegna - publisher: L'Unione Sarda
The origins of these rites are lost in time. In Sardinia the chivalry races with their oriental influence were imported from Spain where they were common among the Mori. The Sartiglia existed in Oristano before the mid XIII century. It is probably that many of the judges and pages from "Giudicato d’Arborea", who were trained at the Court of Aragonese where ring exercise were practiced, introduced the Spanish Sortija or Sortilla to Oristano. This Sartiglia underwent many evolutions but has continued. In the past the race was an exhibition by the nobility. Only afterwards did the Sartilla involve other social classes that were excluded before, in this way becoming an expression of life, costumes and popular culture.

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