Carnival’s Masks: tradition of Sardinia


In the agrarian society, the farmer loves the animals as they are representative of his livelihood. However, at the same time, the animals are feared for their irrational fury and brutal instincts.

The Sardina folk tales describe the symbiosis between man and animal: animals that become human or men who transform themselves, into beasts.

In the silence of pastoral life becomes fear and wonder for a reality that emanates an uncontrollable supernatural force. The things of nature appear as the expression of a divine-demonic Power, which during the day acquires the appearance of real things or animals like the sun, the wind, the water, plants and beasts. All those elements that remain close to the man as tutelary spirits. In the darkness of the night, the tutelary minds become “animas malas”, and it is precisely the animal, so intruded and confused in the life of the farmer and herdsman, that it turns into a disturbing beast and the lowing of the ox becomes an omen of doom.

The carnival masquerades reveal the double image of nature which, on the one hand, produces and procreates, on the other destroys its creation, unleashing, at a level of rural life, the fury of diseases, of bloody struggles, of wild beasts that attack the man’s life. It represents the temporary and playful inversion of an order that will undoubtedly be re-established.

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