Carnival in Barbagia | the masks | the scene | origins and meanings | points of interest
In ancient times in Fonni there were large groups called sos buttudos who were dressed in rags with blackened faces. They used to run after girls assailing them with verses and phrases that were satirical or allusive.
Sos buttudos who impersonated or represented widows and daughters who had lost their fathers used to sing a dirge (attittidu in the Sardinian language) for Narcisu, the lost father, who was lying on the ground and mourned with grotesque funeral laments.
At the same time the clamors from the crowd and the obscene and licentious singing mingled with the widows' mourning laments.
In Gavoi a noisy parade accompanies Zizzarone to the square where the traditional dances start. They are accompanied by su sonu (a combination of fifes, triangles and drums) and often by boche %u2018e ballu singing.
In the evening groups of people in costumes go happily begging sweets and wine from door to door (reminiscent of "Trick or treat " without the trick).
In the past these evening rounds of the village houses were accompanied by muttos %u2018e harrasehare mortu.
The songs started on Thursday before Lent (Giovia lardajola in the local language) when a parade of people in costumes led by su parde %u2018e harrasehare (eccentric costumes of a begging friar) accompanied su mortu %u2018e harrasehare which was played by a poor foreign man (istranzu poveru) who pretended to be dead.
The abundant supply of wine improved the pungency of the songs late in to the night.
This rite was repeated on Shrove Tuesday until s'intinghinzu, the Holy Wednesday covering in soot, evidently a parody of the ritual of Lent.
On the Holy Wednesday afternoon, in Ovodda the carnival feast takes place. People wearing coloured and fancy costumes, ride donkeys which have been specially adorned for the feast. Pigs, sheep and hens are taken around on a lead
Joyful crowds of people in costume dance in the square. Traditional Sardinian dances up to rock and roll and mazurka are all part of this festival. They are all waiting for the burning of Don Conte.. This puppet will be burnt and carried on a cart as far as the bridge from where he will be unceremoniously thrown off.
Everyone from Ovodda becomes actor in an extemporary show which is characterized by games, anarchy and confusion.