The wealth of folk traditions in the region of the SCI (Site of Community Importance) Giara di Gesturi has resulted in numerous parties, events and festivals that combine ancient rituals and cults in an inseparable mixture of the sacred and the profane. The calendar of each town is full of annually-celebrated religious festivals in honor of various venerated saints. Those festivities are intertwined with the rich heritage of rituals, symbols and customs, which define the historical identity of this region. As a result, the atmosphere of faith and mysticism at these events are mixed not only with prayer, historical re-enactment and legend, but also with smells, sounds and colors.
The most popular events are the festivities dedicated to the Blessed Nicholas in Gesturi and Sant'Ignazio of Laconi in Setzu, which attract crowds of devout pilgrims who come from around the entire island. Other popular festivals are dedicated to San Giovanni Battista (June 24) and the Virgin of Itria (the first Tuesday after Pentecost) in Gesturi, Sant’Elia the Prophet in Nuragus, and Sant’Elena the Empress in Gonnosnò. Furthermore, the communities of all of the towns come together to pray on Candlemas, Lent and Easter.
Besides the Christian holidays, which were obviously inherited from the Spanish, the Romans and the Byzantines, some older traditions, which were practiced by pre-Roman civilizations and linked to fertility rites, are still preserved. Ceremonial fires, which illuminate the towns during the feast of Sant’Antonio the Abbot, San Vincenzo and San Sebastiano, are at the heart of many of these rituals. During these festivals, people ask today, as they have done for many years, for the grace of a prosperous harvest. Among the many events related to this tradition, it is worth mentioning the one that takes place on January the 19th in Nureci.
In the period between June and September, the towns of the Marmilla region are involved in the organization of the longest festivals, called is festas mannas. Both lifelong residents and those who have moved away over the years, but still come home for the celebrations, participate in these festivities. Examples of these festivals are San Costantino in Genoni, which combines sacred rites with horse competitions; San Domino in Genuri, which is particularly famous for its unique donkey race; and Sant'Ignazio, which is held in Setzu between the 29th and the 30th of August.
These are important events in order to promote the area. For several decades, many of these villages have held important festivals dedicated to local gastronomy, in which artisans and small farmers have the opportunity to present the fruits of their labor to a wider audience. This is true in the case of the Festival of Su Pani Arrubiu in Tuili; the Festival of Su Pani, Casu e Binu a Rasu in Genuri; and the Festival of Pani e Saba in Sini.