I was not planning to make the post about Easter this year as I was not present in Sardinia. Instead I spent my Easter holidays in traditional Polish way back in my home town Suwałki. But reflecting on my past year – My First Year in Sardinia – and recollecting all memories I decided that I must share with you one beautiful story which proves why you have to love Sardinia and Sardinian people!
Last year in April I was a new comer here and I had my first Easter in Sardinia. One week after my arrival, on Pasqua day I was visiting neighbouring Oliena to take part in traditional procession: S’Incontru. Entire village was intoxicated by the scent of fresh myrtle, rosemary and lavender which were unfurled like herbal carpet at my feet. I was blinded by vivid and rich colours of traditional costumes and scared to death by thousands volleys shot by Oliena men from every rooftop, terrace or balcony. And my excitement grew every minute when people began crowded to get better view. In that moment one of the ladies in front of me turned and seeing my rather petite, even for Sardinian standards, figure she showed me the place in front of her – right on the front line of the action! I was astonished by her kindness but she did not even notice my gesture of gratitude and she was concentrated to guard me like a lioness from gathering crowd! When procession started, she explained to me the particulars pointing on what I should look at, completely ignoring the fact that I may not understand Italian or Sardo. At the grand finale, tears of emotion ran down her cheeks and she hugged and kissed me saying in Sardo A kent’annos – May you live to be hundred! It was my first A kent’annos greetings ever and received from a total stranger. From that day those simple words are so close to my heart and remind me about my Polish roots where we have a similar phrase – Sto lat! Because of this genuine Oliena woman and her gentle words I began to feel like home and I knew that I’m going to love Sardinia with all my heart.
Here are some photos from that memorable day in Oliena:
The S’Incontru is the most important ritual of the Holy Week performed on the streets of Oliena on Easter Sunday. The rite was introduced by the Spaniards in fifteen century and commemorates the Resurrection of Christ and his encounter with the Virgin Mary. On Easter morning two processions are held, where two statues: one of Madonna dressed in mourning and one of Jesus, arrive respectively from the church of San Francesco di Paola and the church of Santa Croce. The happy encounter takes place at the square in front the church of Santa Maria. Madonna drops her black veil accompanied by gunshots and ringing bells showing the joy of Resurrection.
If you are an expat, what are your first memories from the early days in a foreign country? Share your stories!
A kent’annos to all of you!