The most important event of Oristano is the Sartiglia: equestrian carousel of perhaps medieval origin, legacy of the Catalan domination, held on the last Sunday and the last Tuesday of carnival.
It is one of the oldest equestrian events that still take place in the Mediterranean area and one of the most spectacular and choreographic forms of Carnival in Sardinia. It is organized by the two most ancient “gremi” of Oristano: the farmers' gremio, which runs on Sundays and the gremio of the carpenters that runs on Tuesdays. The head-race is “ Su Componidori”. Participating in the Sartiglia are 40 “pariglie”, chosen through selections, for a total of 120 riders.
The particularity of Su Componidori is that from the moment that his mask is placed on his face he is not supposed to get off his horse until the end of the festival (which lasts 6/7 hours). Tradition says that his possible fall from a horse leads to a year of famine and disaster in general.
Su Componidori , the chosen members and riders, defy fate by launching themselves into a wild horse race in order to center with their sword a star suspended by a green ribbon, placed almost in front of the cathedral. The more stars the riders are going to catch, the more prosperous the year will be for the respective gremi. The carousel ends with the parades carried out in via Mazzini, where the riders challenge themselves with acrobatics on horseback which is very complicated and evocative.
The history of the city lives on during the festival, along with the taste of almond sweets and Vernaccia, a typical local wine. In recent years, the carousel attracts many tourists from various parts of the world, who are enchanted by the beauty of the parade of the historical reenactment of the Court of Eleonora, the harnessing of horses and the beautiful clothes of the knights and amazons.