Carnevale di Ottana

Gruppo di Boes e Merdules

Ottana's Carnival is rooted in the archaic world of Sardinia and in its agricultural and pastoralvalues, and it perpetuates a tradition which was never interrupted. The masks describe - throughspontaneous interpretations which develop in a sort of outline, characters, roles and situations of thelife in the fields.The characterizing element is given by the masks of Merdùles and Boes, but also of other animalssuch as Porcos, Molentes, and Crapolos.
Sos Merdùles"Sos Merdùles", i.e. the men, are dressed either in mastruche (white or black hides) or in old clothesof the local tradition; their visage is covered by ligneous masks, whose traits are often deforming.They proceed slowly, bent, carrying on their shoulders “sa taschedda", i.e. a sort of leather rug sackwhich contains bread and something to eat with. In one hand, they hold the reins ("sas soccas")to which the Boes, one or more of them - and with the other hand they lean to a sort of wand,which they use to hold the Boes at bay. They talk, complain about their fate and often exhort thebystanders to stay away from danger.
Sos Boes"Sos Boes" wear either sheep hides of old clothes of the local tradition and carry on their shoulder
- as if it were a bandoleer - a girdle from which "sonazas" - sheet metal and bronze cowbells -hang. They are held by the reins of the Merdùle, their visage is covered by "sas caratzas": masksin carved wood with bovine features, hors of different lengths, two leaves which decorate theircheekbones and a star which decorates their front.Their proceed jumping at rhythm paced by the sound of the cowbells, from time to time do theystop to stage a rebellion, throwing themselves onto the ground or agitating and creating confusionamongst the crowd.

The Carnival starts the evening of January 16th , the holyday of Sant'Antonio Abate, when - afterthe religious ceremony which ends with the blessing of the bonfire ("su Ogulone") in the square, themasks appear for the first time and gather around the fire.

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