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Il Lunissanti Castellanese

In the north of Sardinia, and exactly in Castelsardo, a medieval village built around the old fortification of the Doria, one of the most characteristic rites linked to the Holy Week in Sardinia takes place.
The Lunissanti castellanese is a unique popular event of its kind, which has its roots in the Middle Ages and in the Sacred Representations.
Its origins date back to the time when Benedictine monks looked after the religious, social and cultural life of the people who lived around Tergu and Castelgenovese.
The monks then took over the laity who perpetuated the tradition: the protagonists of Lunissanti are indeed members of the Confraternity of Santa Croce.
This is the procession that takes place on Holy Monday (hence the name), that is, the Monday after Palm Sunday, in which the Mysteries, the instruments of the Passion of Jesus, are brought in procesion.
In Castelsardo and Tergu the Lunissanti represents a synthesis of popular sentiment, where the sacred and solemn moment of the re-enactment of the Passion merges with the profane party for the return of spring.
The ceremony begins very early, with a mass celebrated at dawn in the chapel of Santa Maria. Above all, the apostles (confreres chosen to bring the mysteries) and the singers (members of the three choirs who participate in the rites) take part in the mass, wearing the dress of the brotherhood, a white tunic with hood.
As soon as the mass is over, the procession begins, in which the Mysteries alternate with the groups of singers, who start their choirs.
There are two fundamental parts: that of the singers and that of the apostles. Each part is in turn subdivided into others. The singers are distinguished in three choirs, each of which acquires the name of the song that sings. The choirs are: lu Miserere, lu Stabat and lu Jesu.
Within each choir there are further subdivisions, which are born according to the singer’s tone. Also for the apostles the parts are established according to the Mystery that each represents and brings.
The procession, to which the clergy does not participate, goes to the abbey of Our Lady of Tergu, advancing to the rhythm of the songs with a pause for each singing session. After a few hours, having arrived at the Monastery of Tergu, the Mysteries are exposed before the altar according to their order of arrival, while the choirs continue and the sacraments are celebrated.
At the end of the mass the participants gather in groups to have lunch on the lawns in front of the abbey. It is precisely at this stage that the party for the arrival of spring is highlighted, with lunches and parties that would unite, if carried out in other situations, with the solemn and tragic aspect of the representation of the Passion. In the evening you return to the village along the same itinerary in the morning and the procession ends with the entrance to the church of Santa Maria, from which it left in the morning.
In Castelsardo the path winds between two wings of crowds, the street lamps are extinguished and the candles brought by the Brothers and the Consorelle are lit: the crossing of the characteristic medieval streets of the center becomes so highly suggestive.
After the return of the procession is completed, with a large participation of the people, a solemn function of thanksgiving is celebrated to have had, once again, the opportunity to participate in Lunissanti.
For Castelsardo and its inhabitants in fact, this festival represents a true cultural identity and is the symbol of the attachment to their homeland.
(taken from Castelsardoturismo)