The Ban

For several centuries, criers’ activity represented one of the main sources of information to a whole community. This form of communication and public announcement also included the notification of important events and ceremonies, such as shows and celebrations. 
It is most likely that, since its earliest editions, the joust of Sartiglia was announced by a herald in the main squares of the town. At present, there are no historical documents concerning this phase of the tournament.

Since a few decades, the ban has been institutionalized by the local cultural association (‘Pro Loco’) of the town, thus becoming an integral part of the event. 
Today, the figure of the herald on horseback and the reading of the ban mark the first acts on the day of Sartiglia. 
The announcement of the tournament is made in the morning of the Fiftieth Sunday and on the following Tuesday, starting from piazza Eleonora, the square overlooking the Town Hall. A herald attended by ensigns bearing the standards of the town, and accompanied by drummers and buglers, rides down the streets of the old town, reaches the nearest suburbs and, stopping for a while at the main crossroads, reads the announcement of the imminent joust.
To provide for ‘the useful and noble amusement of the whole community’, the municipal authority invites the riders and audience, in order for them respectively to run and watch the race, to go to ‘sa seu de Santa Maria’, namely the church square facing the Cathedral of the Archdiocese of Oristano. Thus the herald notifies the will of the municipal authority, including the  tournament starting time and prizes to be awarded to winners. 
According to the ancient custom, the horsemen shall measure themselves in riding skills with sword and spear. 
Finally, an instruction is given to all riders taking part to the joust: they shall obey the orders of ‘Su Mastru Componidori’, i.e. the above-mentioned Head of the tournament.

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