St. Anthony’s fire: January 16

St. Anthony's FireA region of traditions and prophecies. The rite of St. Anthony’s fire in Sardinia is celebrated on the night of January 16 by burning wood and rosemary in honor of Anthony, who according to legend, would steal a glowing spark to the devil giving it to men and endowing them with the fire. It is a mixture of Christian tradition and pagan worship of ancient origin.

According to the legend in the ancient time the temperatures in Sardinia were so low that the population, exhausted by the pestilence of animals and plants, turned to the saint for help. So St. Anthony decided to descend to the underworld to help men.

Dorsali, Aritzo, Bolotana, Bosa, Desulo, Budoni ad Escalaplano, Nuoro and Ussassai: these are the Sardinia countries involved in the rite, illuminated all night by huge piles of firewood. On top of the pile are placed oranges that with heroic act the boys of the country must try to recover.  During the rite of St. Anthony, are also offered traditional foods, such as pistiddu, sweets made ​​of two thin sheets stuffed with cooked wine jam, blessed bread and recipes using beans.

The rite of St. Anthony’s fire in Sardinia is rich of meaning and considered prophetic, by smoke coming out of the burning are read prophecies and omens.


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