Certainly, in the history of Sardinia, and in particular of Cagliari, the devotion to a holy martyr can not be missing: Sant’Efisio.
But let’s see what were the events that led the inhabitants of Cagliari to entrust the city to this saint for centuries. The years between 1652 and 1656 were truly terrible for our land; natural events and epidemics brought severe damage to the territory and many deaths among the population. It all began in 1652, when a huge swarm of grasshoppers covered fields and soils of the Sardinian land, devastating the crops.
In the same year the northern areas of the island, particularly Alghero and Sassari, were hit by the plague that caused thousands of victims. In the state archives we can find documents and testimonies to prove how terrible the effects of the epidemic have been in the course of those unfortunate four years.
Cagliari for some time remained immune to the terrible effects of the plague, partly thanks to the wise measures taken so that contacts with the infected areas were reduced to a minimum, but in 1655 the city was also hit.
The population experienced terrible days of anguish, was reduced to half its number and the survivors had to realize with horror that the city had now turned into a real cemetery.
The faith of the Cagliari inhabitants was strong and resisted the unfortunate period; at the sound of the bells they gathered to pray, turning to Sant’Efisio vows to free the city from the epidemic. It is said that the viceroy had a miraculous appearance of the saint in which the latter asked, in exchange for the liberation of the plague, that the procession of May 1 be dedicated to him.
In that same year dominates, 1656, the epidemic ceased.
From that day the city of Cagliari established in honor of Sant’Efisio the famous procession to thank the grace received.
The procession is still an occasion for the faithful to meet, believing or not all the inhabitants of Cagliari put their trust and their prayers in the saint, but also draws many tourists for the particularity of the celebration.
Sant’Efisio is the saint of all, without distinction and regardless of social extraction; every time the procession is celebrated and the Saint runs through the streets of the city in his chariot, it is impossible not to address him at least one prayer.
And you know the procession of Sant’Efisio? If you have not participated at least once in this celebration we can always tell you the details in a personalized tour or deepen the knowledge of the traditions and festivities of Cagliare in our Tour to discover the city! meanwhile, look at our gallery!