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Sardinia, The festival of hospitality

The Intercultura regional festival and the gathering with the local community

Intercultura for us, the volunteers of Centro Locale di Guspini-Medio Campidano (CL-GMC), is a family. Like every family, it has its own history and traditions which are part of a wider culture: the culture of the place we belong. Sardinia in general and Medio-Campidano area, traditionally have an agro-pastoral vocation. That’s why many of Sardinian festivals, rituals and stories are related to it. CL-GMC volunteers, supported by all Sardinian ones, last 12-14 May organized “The regional festival of Intercultura hospitality” which has been a wonderful moment of meeting, exchange, growth, smiles and sharing for all 29 young Intercultura guests, hosted in Sardinia. They spent 3 days and 2 nights hosted by the local community of Serramanna and Villasor. The festival of hospitality was planned during those days because of the occurrancy of the celebrations in honor of Sant’Isidoro, patron Saint of farmers. The overall aim of the initiative was to help getting in touch the international 29 Intercultura students with the local community.

Intercultura is right now looking for volunteer families to welcome them in one of the 160 Italian cities where it is presentYou can apply at this link!

The 3 days meeting was planned as follows:

Friday afternoon, 12th May, Guspini-Medio Campidano and Cagliari volunteers welcomed at the train station the 29 international Intercultura students arriving from their Sardinian hosting families, where they are spending their year abroad. It is almost impossible to describe how emotional and magic are those awaiting moments for families and students, ready to meet and know each other.

After many hugs and few tears, all the group walked to the Municipality where the Mayor, the council and the community were waiting for them. The sound of the Sardinian ancient wind instrument Launeddas, played by Nodas Antigas association members, welcomed them. Together with smiles and enthusiasm, they have been honoured with the book of the famous architect Vico Mossa, born in Serramanna in 1914.

An important part of these days was dedicated to the educational aspect, offering intercultural workshops, carried out with the help of volunteers from the local centers of Guspini, Cagliari and Terralba, in the schools of Serramanna, Samassi, Segariu, Furtei, Villacidro and Ussaramanna. In just one morning we reached about 400 secondary school students, with the aim of reflecting on the theme of peace through the promotion of equality in line with Goals 10 and 16 of the Agenda for Sustainable Development approved by the United Nations and carried out, in Italy, by the Italian Alliance for Sustainable Development (ASviS), to which Intercultura adheres.

At 4.30 pm, after lunch and a well-deserved rest, we met to explore the country, taking advantage of the event Open Monuments and at 7 pm we attended the dressing and parade of traditional masks of the Sardinian carnival, also these in agro-pastoral theme.

On Sunday 14th, the day dedicated to the feast of hospitality, we were together for the procession of Sant’Isidoro and then enjoyed a lunch, a party and beautiful moments of sharing with 135 other people including annual/semester host families, host families of the community of Serramanna and Villasor, Intercultura volunteers from all over Sardinia and many others that wanted to participate to know and share the soul of Intercultura.

The best thing about this weekend, for volunteers of the Intercultura association, is that: “We asked timidly and the community, as a whole, made our project possible”.

The community

by Marta Castro from Chile to Sardinia (local center Carbonia-Iglesias)

The community of Serramanna was really wonderful. From day one, they opened their house, their culture and mostly their hearts to us. When we got to Serramanna the volunteers along with the families were waiting for us at the train station to go with them to the municipal house where they and the municipal administration welcomed us to Serramanna and a weekend full of beautiful activities. All the activities that we had that weekend showed us how lovely and fun was the community, like in the procession of the sardinian masks, the folk dance that we saw at night and the last activity at the end of the stay in Serramanna, where many people shared their opinion with us, how it was to them living this experience and how to many of them it opened their eyes to, in the future, have similar experiences for maybe longer periods of time and how it encouraged so many kids from the community to felt the need to explore the world and meet other cultures, something they thought they lost after the pandemic.

The museums and the masks

by Syafila Firdha Nafeeza (Sasa) from Indonesia to Sardinia (local center Nuoro)

On the second day of the Hospitality Party of Intercultura, we went to Montegranatico, an ethnographic photographic exhibition called Dis de Festa e de Devozioni, where we saw Sardegna’s historical stories in some photographs that talked about the Serramannese religious processions. It was really interesting because we believe that culture is something that characterizes us and must be maintained. What’s more, there was a little art exhibition of flowers and landscapes by the art club on the second floor. We were really impressed to see them, since we all know that Italy is known for its art, opera, music, etc. Then we moved to a central street, where we saw the festival of Sardinian masks from all over the town. It started with the Mamuthones and Issohadores from Mammoiada, the Urthos and Buttudos from Fonni, and many more. We were amused and entertained by them, who scared us by coming, then started to shout and gave us a black mark. Each mask has its own signification as well. For example, Issohadres and Mamuthones, they are two different characters because people believe that a good thing cannot exist without an evil thing, after dark night there is a brighter day, same as them. “What do you think of this afternoon mask festival?” I asked my friend. “Ah, it is really a wonderful experience! I couldn’t be more grateful to spend my teenagers far away from my Country just to live while learning new cultures, new things, and experiencing a new me,” she said.

Saint Isidoro

by Aanshu Dhoot from India to Sardinia (local center Guspini)

My favorite part of hospitality program is the parades.  All of us were hosted at different homes for two days to see the parades of Saint’Isidoro, the Saint of agriculture. The parade included bulls, horses, tractors, and farming equipment. The people were dressed in traditional Sardinian clothes, riding the horses, and enjoying life. I have learned a lot and made a lot of memories here.

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