Saints, Feast, Family
- Traditions passed down with Cooking, Crafting, & Caring -
May 1-4 or January 15
The month of Mary: A Marian Month
Saint of the day:
Patron Saint of Sardinia
The Story of Saint Ephysius
In Rome, Italy, Ephysius gained the favor of emperor Diocletian who made him governor of the island of Sardinia. Convert to Christianity. Diocletian then had him stripped of office, tortured and murdered. Martyr.
Beheaded in 303 on Sardinia, Italy.
Relics transferred to Pisa, Italy.
The day of Saint Ephysius is a very important holiday in Cagliari: it commemorates a miracle recorded in 1656, the year when the city was hit the hardest by the plague epidemic that had been decimating Sardinia’s population for four years.
Having lost 10,000 people to the terrible disease, the municipality’s institutions resorted to praying the holy martyr, a soldier of the Roman imperial army who had converted and was therefore executed in the early 4th century in Nora, under Diocletian’s Christian persecution. The city of Cagliari prayed for grace, promising a special celebration in return for stopping the epidemic.
Since 1657, Cagliari has honored that promise every single year, with a spectacular procession of decorated wagons ending with the statue of Saint Ephysius carried on a grand, golden 17th-century chariot. The itinerary is about sixty-five kilometers long and stretches from the Baroque Church of Saint Ephysius in the Stampace district to the small Romanesque church of the same name in Pula, near the ruins of Nora, southwest of Cagliari. The procession takes four days on foot, from May 1st to May 4th, to go and come back to Cagliari through a number of towns such as Capoterra and Sarroch.
It is a beautiful tradition that this year will return again, to express the city’s centuries-old gratitude for grace received.
Lord, you are Holy above all others, and all of the strength that I need is in your hands.
I am not asking, Lord, that you take this trial away. Instead, I simply ask that Your will be done in my life.
Whatever that means, that is what I want.
But I admit that it's hard, Lord.
Sometimes I feel like I can't go on.
The pain and the fear are too much for me, and I know that I don't have the strength on my own to get through this.
I know that I can come to you, Jesus, and that you will hear my prayer.
I know that it is not your intent to bring me to this point just to leave me in the wilderness alone.
Please, Lord, give me the strength that I need to face today. I don't have to worry about tomorrow.
If you just give me the strength that I need today that is all I need.
Keep me from sinning during this trial. Instead, help me to keep my eyes on you.
You are the Holy Lord, and all of my hope rests in you.
Thank you for hearing my prayer.
In Jesus' name.
Church of Sant'Efisio (Giorgino)
Address: Località Giorgino
Chiesa di Sant'Efisio
Via Sant'Efiisio, 09100,
Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy
4 Days of Fun!
San Efisio, or Ephysius of Sardinia, is the patron saint of Pisa and Sardinia, but is especially revered in Cagliari. While both saints are celebrated in May, their similarities end there. Madrid’s San Isidro is known for his piousness and is certainly held in high esteem, but San Eifisio serves as more of a hero figure to the people of Cagliari.
Efisio was a Roman Soldier originally sent to Sardinia by the Roman Emperor to suppress Christianity on the island. However, on his way to Cagliari, he saw a vision and quickly became a strong follower of Christ.
When asked to renounce his faith in Cagliari by his army friends he refused and was subsequently imprisoned. In the year 303, he was sent to Nora where he was beheaded by a Roman Soldier, becoming a martyr for Christianity and the people of Sardinia.
But this would not be the last heroic act of the Saint. He came back later in time to save the people of Sardinia from certain death. In 1652, when thousands of people in Sardinia were dying from the plague and half the population of Cagliari had already died, Sardinians turned to Saint Efisio for help and thanks to their faith and prayers, the scourge (favorite word alert!) was defeated by the saint.
And so, every year since 1656, on May 1st, thousands of people come to Cagliari to celebrate this brave and respected Saint.
Cagliari puts on for Efisio is one of the most dedicated (and colorful) events I’ve ever seen.
People come to Cagliari from every region of Sardinia. They arrive in traditional dress and many are carried by carts pulled by two enormous oxen while others follow on foot. As they pass by, many women and men sing traditional songs from their area.
The procession itself had five parts - the ox carts called traccas start the event, followed by 3,500 people from various regions walking (or strutting as the case may be) behind the oxen, followed by 300 more people on horseback and then the Militiamen and the Honour Guard lead the arrival of the saint. The procession lasts over 2 hours before they finally carry Saint Efisio through the streets, followed by thousands of people.
From Cagliari, the procession continues on to Nora, the Saint’s final resting place, which is about an hour’s drive from Cagliari. So they walk and walk and walk and, at sunset, the procession stops and they spend the night in a large field, singing and dancing all night long.
The next morning they continue onwards to Nora, where they lay the saint in the seaside church that was erected in his honor, “The waves of the sea beat impetuously against the marble ruins: the same marble ruins that were the pride of the pagans and which time has brought down, while Christ’s hero marches on through the centuries.”
Culurgiones, Sardinian Ravioli
For the stuffing
1.5 kg of potatoes
a small onion
2 whole cloves of garlic
100 ml of extra virgin olive oil
15/20 mint leaves
100 grams of viscidu cheese
For the pastry
600 of re-milled semolina
100 gr of flour 00
20 ml extra virgin olive oil
You can prepare the culurgiones with or without cheese according to your tastes, excellent in any case, if you want to put the cheese but do not find the viscidu cheese used of fresh or semi-mature pecorino.
Wash the potatoes and cook them with the skin in plenty of water with the necessary salt, once cooked, peel and mash immediately with a still hot potato masher.
Brown the chopped onion with the garlic cloves with the extra virgin olive oil, the garlic can be chopped or put whole and remove it after browning.
Add the oil with the browned onion to the potatoes, then add salt and mint, if you use the viscidu or pecorino cheese pay attention to the salt, it may not be necessary, then taste the filling in preparation.
Pour the flour into a bowl or planetary, add salt, oil and gradually the necessary water, knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic.
Cut a few slices of dough, flatten it with your hands and then pass it in the dough sheeter, three steps will be enough, the last step must be the penultimate cleat of the dough sheeter so as to make it thin but not excessively.
Cook the culurgiones in plenty of water, drain a few moments after they come to the surface, bring them to the table with grated pecorino cheese, without adding oil or other fats.
For those who do not like to eat them white, you can bring to the table some simple tomato sauce bowls to add.
You can cook the culurgiones the same day or freeze them and cook them at a later time.