Has it also happened to you that you were travelling and/or on holidays and you were at the right place at the right time?
While I love to read the section about local festivities in travel guides, my travel itinerary does not match these dates very often as I don’t normally plan around them. Well, I was lucky in Sardinia last year where magic happened in front of my eyes. I’d like to share it with you.
Every year on the last Sunday in May, Orosei, a town on the island of Sardinia, celebrates a colourful and flowery day, indeed. Orosei is situated along the coast of the Gulf of Orosei in the northeast of the island and is nestled by the river Cedrino, which plays an important role in the festivities and which flows into the Gulf as seen in the head image. It is on a hill between the Cedrino and the Mediterranean where in the 13th century a little church was built to protect the seafarers and merchants, who carried out business in the port of Orosei for 200 years.
It all starts at nine o’clock in the morning. People gather on the Piazza del Popolo di Orosei to decorate small fishing boats mainly with flowers. It seems like everybody is out and about some helping with the decoration, others just coming for a chat or to indulge in the hustle and bustle. There are onlookers and photographers, tourists, locals, elderly people – did you know, Sardinia has the highest density of people aged ninety years and older in the world? -, carabinieri (policemen) in their very Italian Fiat Panda 750, and everything in between.
While my hubby sips a cappu in the shade after he has seen what he wanted, I am walking around excitedly taking pictures of this beautiful happening. I am in awe and tempted to shout a “Meraviglioso!” out of joy. It is a hot morning and still everyone is calmly busy arranging flowers onto the boats, in high spirits, smiling, peaceful and willing to be on my pictures. The Italian language has a wonderful word for what they are doing here: L’infioratura – translates into something like the placing of flowers. I do love that language.
I was also overwhelmed by the beauty these people magically created on these cute fishing boats.
At around five everybody meets again and the actual ceremony begins with a procession through Orosei before all boats actually go where they belong, in the water. A statue of Madonna is being carried and placed onto the first boat that enters the Cedrino.
We are now walking onto that bridge leading into or in this view out of Orosei and over the river Cedrino (see head image again). This is the prime spot to watch as the boats are entering the Cedrino. A spectacle in itself. I was granted first row view by the Italian gentlemen standing in front of me. As you may have experienced yourself, hospitality is huge in Italy. As a woman with blond hair (okay this is a cliché now) you may experience it even more, especially when you smile charmingly and speak some Italian :0).
This is what I got on one side of the bridge…
Then a church service is being given at the Chiesa di Santa Maria ‘e Mare. Afterwards everybody, and I mean truly everybody – us included -, is invited to a glass of red wine and some bread with octopus salad. I have to admit that we did not join this final part of the day as I don’t eat seafood and I did not want to offend people by saying no to their generous offer on spot. I regret it a bit now.
But I have their warm, noble, and wonderful humanness in my heart forever. Grazie da cuore, Orosei.