Mauritanian wedding, a Sardinian celebration famous since old times

The ritual of the Mauritanian wedding, the combination of different cultures  

In Italy there are age-old rites that are still practiced to this day. They are functions organized to keep old traditions alive. One of the most interesting ones is a ritual that takes place in Sardinia, the so-called Mauritanian Wedding. This ancient nuptial ceremony is celebrated every year in the south-western part of the island. Here you will be able to find out what this ritual is about revisiting its history and understanding the reason behind this name. But that is not all, in fact you will know where and when this traditional ceremony takes place. Finally, here is what happens in the last edition. 

Matrimonio Mauritano

What is the Mauritanian Sardinian Wedding?

Every year at the beginning of the month of August in the Sardinian town of Santadi an ancient nuptial ritual takes place. This is one of the most important traditional weddings in Sardinia and it is celebrated in this location to evoke its importance since the Middle Ages. In fact, together with Tratallas it was one of the places where ceremonies happened among which were matrimonies. People from the surrounding areas would come to see these functions happen. The ceremony as we know it today is the result of an initiative of a group of young people from the 60s who decided to propose a ritual based on the old traditions and ways of the territory. The first edition of the Mauritanian Sardinian Wedding was held in 1968. The reason behind the name is connected to the fact that forever the people that lived in these areas were called Mauritanians. The name comes from Mauri which is how the population of Mauritania at the time of the Roman Empire was called. The area has been identified to modern day North Africa. In the VI century AD some Mauri appear to have moved to the south of Sardinia. For rural communities the concept of matrimony has always held a special meaning. This is owed to the fact that it was a moment of celebration for the whole village, to be together with friends and family.

Matrimonio Mauritano

Mauritanian Wedding: when and where does it take place?  

The traditional ritual of the Mauritanian Sardinian wedding, as mentioned earlier, takes place in Santadi in the south of the island. Starting from 1978 the event takes place on the first Sunday of the month of august. You should know that preparations start from the day before as there is quite a lot to do. One of the most typical things is the preparation of the newlyweds’ carts which are called traccas and are pulled by oxen. According to tradition a cart carries the bride and her parents and the witnesses whilst Tyne other one is used for the groom and his family. On a stage at the center of the square the nuptials are celebrated. Finally, once the ceremony is over an ancient water ritual where the mothers bless the couple takes place. Another closing ritual is that of the bread which is prepared especially for the ceremony. Due to the halt caused by the pandemic the tradition of the Mauritanian Sardinian wedding had to stop to start again this year in the month of August. The 2021 edition was held in a smaller format but this did not impact the charm of this traditional event. The ritual instead of taking place in the square was held in a church. The whole thing was covered through social media which allowed local people to follow it remotely. In fact, it is a very felt ritual and can be considered as an actual institution as deeply rooted in social fabric of the population of this part of island and it is one of the many traditions of the beautiful island of Sardinia.

Comune di Santadi | Il Matrimonio Mauritano

Cover Image: lanuovasardegna

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