The Ottana Carnival is one of the most interesting and characteristic of the Mediterranean. The origin and meaning of the masks is not clear. Surely, they have been handed down over the centuries and represent a ritual thousands of years old.
Among the festivities that are celebrated in the town, the first of the year is that of Saint Anthony with the lighting of the fire.
At dusk the day of the eve of Saint Anthony (January 16th), after the blessing of the fire, the First “Essia” is made, meaning the first appearance of the year of the traditional town’s masks generically called “Merdules”. Before the large bonfire, or “S’Ogulone”, after the religious rites, “sos Merdules” mark the start of Carnival preparations.
The Carnival rituals continue with San Sebastian and Candelora and are repeated every Saturday and Sunday until reaching the three days of Carnival.
This is a very popular celebration awaited by all Ottana townspeople.
It is an important time for coming together, rich in significance and ancient meanings.
It is customary the first two days of Carnival for the “Merdules” to be invited by those who are not masked; on Tuesday, it is then the “Merdules”, which in turn, invite unmasked people.
Fat Tuesday, is the day when towards the evening, the “Sas Amoradas” are sung, improvised octave rhyming stanzas dedicated to young women, and it is also the last day of Carnival.