In the Breve of Villa di Chiesa as many as three chapters are devoted to the feast of “Sancta Maria di Mezo Gosto,” or the feast dedicated to the Virgin on the date of August 15.
These were imposing artifacts, suffice it to say that the ancient scripture relates that the tapers were so large that they remained lit for a whole year, with no one being allowed to undo them: on pain of having to pay 10 pounds of Alfonsini minutes.
On this day it was customary to release prisoners, exclusively women.
Even today the descent takes place on August 15. The Candlesticks are six meters tall, weigh an average of 3 tons, and need sixteen to twenty people to carry them, supporting them on their shoulders.
Participation is open to everyone, not only Iglesians but also tourists.
The Procession is opened by the historical figures:
- The Association’s Vessel bearing the image of the Virgin overlooking the town of Villa di Chiesa;
- the herald, announcing the order of the Candlesticks’ exit;
- The Breviaiuolo holding the “Breve”;
- the Camerlengo holding a pouch containing copies of the “Alfonsini minuti ” the typical coin minted in the City;
- The Judge surrounded by the amanuenses;
- the Captain of Villa holding a pillow on top of which is deposited the key to the City.
Next come the candlesticks preceded by the relevant Banners.
Immediately after, the simulacrum of the Dormant (the Koimesis, in the Byzantine manner). The litter is carried by the “apostles”: twelve men wearing a white smock held at the waist by a blue sash; in ancient times it was the landowners who had the honor and burden of carrying the Sleeper.
The Universitas Candlestick, is representative of the entire city of Iglesias. It is built in cherry wood, consists of a cube-shaped base. In its four faces there are paintings by the late Iglesiente artist Paolo Essenziale, where the four most most important economic activities of the time: agriculture, pastoralism, mining and handicrafts.
Originally in place of the painted panels were four ceramic tiles by Iglesiente artist Stefano Cherchi.
They were removed to lighten the Candlestick that weighed more than four hundred kilos; the panels, kept by the Association await a dignified location to be admired by Iglesienteers and tourists.
On the tabernacle of the Candlestick were placed four bronze statues depicting the Virtues Cardinal, which the Trustees should possess, namely: Prudence, Justice, Fortitude and Temperance..
Blue ceramic inserts are placed on the column. The bearers wear a red and blue tunic.
The Mountain Candlestick at the base bears engraved images: on the front, St. Barbara, patroness of mine workers, on the back an ‘image of the Assumption of the Virgin, on the sides representations of scenes of mining life.
The upper part reproduces a coin of Metalla with a tetrastyle temple, an oil lamp, and the M surmounted by a crown. The column is shaped like a stiletto, a tool commonly used in mining. In 2000 it was enriched with a silver cup.
The bearers wear a silver and black tunic representing the silver that was mined locally and the darkness to which the
The Candlestick, in procession is preceded by a banner in which Saint Barbara, patroness of the Gremio and Popes Callistus, Hippolytus and Pontian, who were condemned “ad metalla” (a recurring name in this area of Sardinia) are depicted.
Candlestick of St. Clare
The Sancta Chiara Candlestick consists of a base in which Sardinian motifs are engraved.
The upper part, contains paintings depicting St. Clare, patroness of the neighborhood; the Assumed Virgin and Marian symbols.
The column, the most interesting part of the Candlestick, was found in a
closet of the Cathedral and entrusted by the Chapter to the then Association Committee ” Enhancement of Iglesiente Traditions ” for restoration; the cabinetmaker who restored it ( the late Dario Matta) said that, a
his opinion, the column had to be dated to the 1600s and that there was much evidence of water lathe work.
On August Ferragosto day, a silver cup is fixed on the top ( the work of the School
Argentieri of Iglesias and the artist Vasari, now deceased). It depicts the Cathedral, the episcopal coat of arms of the then Bishop of Iglesias, Bishop Arrigo Miglio, Saints Antiochus and Clare and the
Donoratico tornese, coin minted in Iglesias.
The bearers wear a black, white and blue tunic. The Candlestick, in procession is preceded by a banner in which St. Clare is depicted as the patron saint of the neighborhood, after whom the Cathedral (the only one in the world dedicated to the saint) is named, and which, in our opinion should be raised to Basilica status.
The Mezo Candlestick captures the features of an aristocratic house. On the four sides are depicted the neighborhood’s patron saint, St. Saturn; two from the Mezo neighborhood ward; and the image of the Virgin at the moment of the Assumption, when she drops, according to the apocryphal gospels, the celestial band, which St. Thomas catches.
The bearers wear a green and yellow tunic; this is because the Ward was inhabited by farmers, shepherds and market gardeners: yellow the color of crops and green representing the countryside.
The Candlestick is preceded by a banner in which St. Saturn, protector of the neighborhood, is depicted.
The Candlestick of Fontana, also dedicated to one of the city’s neighborhoods, bears a depiction of St. Nicholas, protector of the neighborhood, remembered at the moment of the miracle (children were lost in the woods, the people looking for them invoked the saint, and globes appeared in the sky, illuminating the place and causing the children to be found), St. Mary of Bangiargia, and a glimpse of Iglesias with a view of the fountain of Su maimoni (from the Sardinian “he who stands in the middle of the square”).
The column, on which Marian symbols are engraved, ends in the shape of a pitcher. The bearers wear a white and light blue tunic.
The banner, which precedes the Candlestick in procession, depicts St. Nicholas to whom a church, destroyed in the early 1900s, located between present-day Cagliari Street and Lamarmora Square, right in front of the Su maimoni fountain, was dedicated.
The Candlestick of Castello, made of dark and light wood, has on its sides engraved the patroness of the district St. Eulalia, patroness of the Salvaterra Fortress, the Assumption, a militant, a dove and a symbolic image of the coat of arms of the Donoratico family. Two medallions engraved with the representation of “is griffoneddus” (From the Sardinian “the taps”) and the staircase of ” sa sai” (From the Sardinian “of the salt”), that is, the staircase that led to the prison above the springs; the tower and a heraldic coat of arms are then arranged.
The column ends with a crenellated tower.
The bearers wear a yellow and red tunic, symbols of power and authority respectively. The banner preceding the Candlestick carries represented St. Constantine, the Holy Trinity
and Santa Eulalia.
The vinajuoli candlestick has, again, a cubic shape engraved with symbols typical of Sardinian art; the upper part (the tabernacle) bears representations of St. Isidore, patron saint of farmers, the Assumption, a farmer sowing seeds, and a glimpse of the Byzantine church of the Holy Savior.
In the twisted column are vine shoots and ears of wheat. The bearers wear a burgundy-colored tunic.
The banner depicts Our Lady of Valverde and other saints.
The workers’ candlestick depicts: St. Joseph, patron of Craftsmen; the Assumption and work activities of the medieval period; a chiseler and an apothecary.
At the top of the tabernacle are four patron saints of the trades of the time: St. Philomena, protector of spinners; St. Ermenegildo, protector of tailors; St. Crispin, protector of shoemakers; and St. Eligius, protector of goldsmiths and silversmiths. The column ends with paintings in which moments from the life of
Jesus. Bearers wear a red and green colored tunic.
The banner depicts St. Joseph.