The candelieri's descent Sassari's 'great celebration'.ImageThe candelieri's descent Sassari's 'great celebration'.
The leader of the farmer's Gremio - litograph designed by A. Pittaluga printed by Levilly in the 1800's

The descent of the Candelieri or "the great celebration" for the Sassaresi, which falls on the 14th of August (the eve of the mid-August bank holiday), has been celebrated for over 700 years. This celebration has been changed over the years, but the object has not changed, it is still a festival in honour of the Vergine Assunta (Our Lady of the Assumption).
Since the sixteenth century this celebration has been religious and votive in gratitude to the Virgin for having freed the city of three terrible plagues, the last of which was in 1652. Almost all the population of Sassari died. The survivors who numbered a little over 5000 confirmed the votive nature of the festival, which had been votive since 1580 (or 1583 as the Historian Angius claims).
It is important to note that all the three plagues (the previous dating from 1504 and 1514) ended on the 14th of August.

Images of the Candelieri's great celebration
Images of the Candelieri's great celebration
For this reason nowadays this celebration represents a thanksgiving.
The leaders of this celebration are the Gremi which are the ancient arts and crafts guilds that originated in Spain. There are nine Gremi in Sassari. They are: the "Piccapietre" (which means people who carve stone), the Commercial Travellers, the Farmer Workers, the Cabinet Makers, the Market Gardeners, the Shoe Repairers, the Bricklayers, the Tailors and the Farmers.
Since 1531, the farmers have been the most prestigious Gremio. They are almost the symbol of a city which is inhabited by farmer.

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