St. Efisio parade: the martyr warrior patron saint of Sardinia
In Sardinia May 1st is synonymous with the parade of St. Efisio, the warrior martyr patron of the island, who in 1656 – according to the chronicles of Canon Giovanni Spano – appeared in a dream to the Viceroy Count of Lemos, asking for the vote of a procession in exchange for the liberation of Sardinia from the plague, arrived in Alghero through a group of Catalan sailors and then spread throughout the region.
A religious procession that still today, after 362 years, is felt by all Sardinians, as the popular and mystical event par excellence able to bring together believers, ordinary citizens, and tourists for the grandeur of the parade, the length of the route, its symbolic stages and its mystical halo.
It is no coincidence that the parade of St. Efisio was included in the Italian list of Intangible Heritage of Humanity under the patronage of UNESCO
Who was St.Efisio?
An official of the Roman army under Diocletian, Efisio – born in Jerusalem, was sent to the Italian peninsula to fight Christians. Legend has it that, on his way, he had a vision of his martyrdom and he converted himself to Christianity when he reached Gaeta, where he was christened. He was then sent to Sardinia to fight paganism in the inner parts of the island. His conversion was such a sudden and passionate one that he even wrote to the Emperor to persuade him to embrace the Christian faith. Diocletian instead, condemned him to the martyrdom to punish his provocation. Confined to Cagliari in the prison that bears his name and that can still be visited in the district of Stampace, he was then taken to Nora to avert an insurrection of the people and executed. Before being killed, however, he promised to defend Cagliari and its people forever.
.Efisio parade’s route
St Efisio parade starts on April 30th with a solemn moment: the statue of the saint is dressed by the Gonfalone Brotherhood’s members in the church of Stampace. Here, some privileged ones also pack the “suitcase of the saint” with simple garments the saint will dress once in Giorgino, at a short distance from Cagliari. The statue is embellished with votive offerings donated by the
The parade last four days: on May 1st, the coach leaves from the homonymous church in Stampace, one of the historical district of Cagliari, and parades along the city center’s main streets forerun by the “
Once in Via Roma, before the Art Noveau building of the
When the coach arrives, all the ships docked in the port tribute the saint playing the sirens, while the crowd flocks around the coach to ask for grace or just to whisper a prayer. From this moment on, thousands of people follow the saint until Nora, on a 65 kilometers route.
fisio 2019 edition
Though St. Efisio Parade was born as a religious procession, after more than 362 editions it’s considered the feast of all Sardinia, of all its people and the most important display of traditional costumes.