There are numerous sports, cultural, musical, artistic, or religious events held in the characteristic medieval streets and squares of Iglesias throughout the year.
The rites during Holy Week in Iglesiente are certainly among the most suggestive in Sardinia. The processions take place from Tuesday to Friday preceding Easter. Hypnotic and engaging, the city serves as a backdrop for the processions.
Holy Tuesday: Procession of the Mysteries
The cross of the Archconfraternity opens this procession, the oldest one with that of the descent: the procession of the Mysteries. The Baballotti carry the simulacra on their shoulders, the first of which is particularly heavy and requires several days of preparation on the Holy Mountain. Only two children, in the traditional penitential dress of the Baballotti, participate; they will represent St. John and Mary Magdalene in the procession of the descent on Good Friday. The other children are not included from this procession: their days will be Holy Thursday and Good Friday.
Holy Thursday: Procession of the Sorrowful Mother
It’s one of the most important days: it commemorates the Last Supper, the institution of the Eucharist, the priesthood; the beginning of the Passion of Jesus. It’s a day rich in events and meanings: two Masses mark the rhythm of this long day: in the morning the Chrism Mass and in the evening the Mass of the Lord’s Supper. Afterward, in all the churches, the Blessed Sacrament is solemnly placed in a richly decorated side chapel. The decoration, in addition to veils, carpets, flowers, and candles, includes “Su Nenniri”: pots in which wheat and lentils are sown at the beginning of Lent.
The “Baballottis” are the protagonists of Holy Week: white, hooded, without a face and without time, they materialize on this day; of all ages, some still in their mother’s arms, some already grandfathers for a long time. They take over the streets of the historic center before the processions. In the late evening, the procession of the Sorrowful Mother sets off from the Oratory of the Holy Mount, the Church of San Michele.
Good Friday: Procession of the Mount and Procession of the Descent
In the morning, the upper district of “Sa Costera” becomes the stage for the procession of the Mount, the ascent to Calvary. The “Via Dolorosa” features the simulacrum of Jesus with the cross and that of the Sorrowful Mother accompanying him. The various churches are visited with a procession composed of: “matracconis,” a drum, the cross of the Archconfraternity, Baballotti, the Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament, simulacra, and the Germani of the Holy Mount preceding the statue of the Virgin of Piety.
In the evening, the most anticipated procession takes place, that of the Descent. During the procession, the simulacrum of the Dead Jesus is carried covered by a veil of tulle and under a white canopy signifying royalty. The Germani of the Holy Mount is followed by the Sorrowful Mother holding the crown of thorns to her chest; then finally, the large black cross carried on the shoulders of penitents without attire or special sign.
Celebration of Sancta Maria di Mezo Gosto: Descent of the Candelieri
The great historical tradition of the Celebration of Sancta Maria di Mezo Gosto (Mid-August), with the participation of the Candelieri, began to take form in 1992, when the column of what had been a Candelieri was found in a small room near the Capitolium Hall. This was skillfully restored by a craftsman from Iglesias and placed in the Candelieri of the Santa Chiara district from which it probably originated. Iglesias has eight Candelieri.
In the “Breve,” three chapters are dedicated to the Celebration of Sancta Maria di Mezo Gosto with various rules to observe, among which one is related to the release of prisoners, men and women, on the day of the Assumption of the Virgin. The candles were so large that they remained lit for an entire year and no one could take them down, under penalty of having to pay 10 pounds of small alfonsini.
The candelieri are four meters tall and require 16-20 people for transportation.
Every year, in October, the city comes to life thanks to the Ottobrata Iglesiente. A rich showcase of events dedicated to citizens and visitors of all ages.
A month of numerous cultural events, such as literary contests and book presentations; entertainment and spectacle with musical concerts, theatrical performances, and shows for children; but also sports events such as climbing and athletics.
There are also events dedicated to tradition, such as workshops on bread and pasta or embroidery. An excellent opportunity to get to know the city, its history, and its customs.
Every year, in August, the Society of Medieval Quarters Villa Ecclesiae together with the Municipality of Iglesias take care of the organization of the Historical Medieval Parade. A unique show in which men, women, and children parade in medieval costumes. The parade takes place through the streets of the historic center of the city accompanied by drums and trumpets.
At the end of the parade, the Crossbow Tournament takes place, which recalls the siege suffered by the city in the 14th century by Alfonso V of Aragon.
Celebration of Madonna delle Grazie
The Celebration of Madonna delle Grazie is celebrated on the second Sunday of July every year. During the Eucharistic celebration, the Mayor of Iglesias on behalf of the Municipality and the Iglesiente people renews the ancient vow to the Madonna by rereading the Supplication and offering a candle as a thanksgiving for the liberation from the voracious locusts that for twenty years had devastated the fields, flagellating a population already affected by drought and plague.