The Star Joust

At the end of the dressing ceremony of ‘Su Componidori’, the parade of horsemen proceeds towards the street of the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, led by the head of the joust, preceded by buglers and drummers and by the Guild organizing the tournament of the day. 

The passing of the cortege is one of the most exciting moments of the event, ideally embraced by the whole town, including many tourists coming from far and wide. 
The magnificence of horses and the elegance of horsemen, wearing ancient costumes of Sardinian and Spanish tradition, the blasting colours of horse trappings, the flourishing of bugles and the gait of drummers really captivate watchers’ mind. 
Yet, above all, the most striking element is the imposing, hieratical stateliness of ‘Su Componidori’, the king of the tournament and of the entire town, catalyzing attentions and aspirations of a community for one day.

A three-fold crossing of swords between ‘Su Componidori’ and his second-in-command marks the start of the joust.
The rhythm stressed by the drums adds solemnity to this early phase of the tournament, taking place beneath a green ribbon supporting a bright tin star. 
The challenge begins. ‘Su Componidori’ will tempt his good luck trying to spear the target by the tip of his sword, riding at a fast gallop; next, it will be the turn of his two aides-de-camp. Subsequently, only those riders honoured by the assignment of a sword by the head of the joust will be entitled to repeat this enterprise. Indeed, the selection of those who will go down the route of the Cathedral to try and catch the star is exclusively assigned to the chief of the tournament. 

The joyful gallop of a horseman who has just hit his target is a reason for joy, not only for him/her, but also for the Guild and the audience, who will exult at the spearing of the star. Skilled and successful riders then go back down the route to enjoy drummers and buglers’ tribute, as well as the warm ovations of a jubilant crowd. They will be prized with a little silver star as a keepsake. 
Riders whose extraordinary ability and luck grants them another star on the second day of Sartiglia are also awarded with a little gold star. Similarly, gold is reserved to horsemen of the leading ‘pariglia’ catching a second star on the same day of the joust.

When ‘Su Componidori’ decides it is time to bring the tournament to a close, he rides back on the track to give back the swords to the highest authority of the Guild. This latter, in turn, will give him a wooden sword (‘stocco’): indeed, only the head of the joust and his mates may have the honour to use the spear and try their luck for the second time along the Cathedral street.

Once the rides with the wooden spear are over, ‘Su Componidori’ returns in front of the Cathedral square once again, to hand back the wooden sword for a sceptre of violets. 
This is one of the most touching and enthralling moments of the joust. Beating an extraordinary rhythm, the drummers mark the pace of ‘Su Componidori’ who, blessing the crowd, heads for Piazza Manno, the starting point of all rides at the star. 
A flourishing of bugles and a roll of drums announces ‘Sa Remada’, a daring performance by ‘Su Componidori’ officially closing the ring joust. 
Leaning over his horse’s back, he rides down the track at a fast gallop, greeting and blessing the Guild and all the people present. 
The gallop ends in a square hosting waiting riders during the tournament; they cheer the last act of the head of the joust with cries of acclamation and rounds of applauses. Once more, it is time for them to form a parade and move back towards via Duomo, corso Umberto, piazza Roma and, finally, via Mazzini, the setting where the ‘pariglie’ will take place

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