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Bread for special occasions

Bread for special occasions, the main food on the Sardinian table, as in most of the Mediterranean cannot be left out during lunches or parties, on the different occasions in which the families gathered, and today still gather in order to celebrate the moments of rest during the works of the agricultural and pastoral year. Some special bread exists for Easter, as for Christmas and for marriages they are prepared as real works of art.

In Orgosolo the morning of December 31 children go from house to house to ask for “candelarìa” or bread, fruit, biscuits and money. The bread which is produced for this occasion is called cocòne and corresponds to a quarter of a whole loaf marked in the centre by a cross.

At Easter in numerous villages in southern Sardinia some particular bread are baked, varying from the most usual bread coccói, eaten daily. On this occasion the bran bread takes the form of a child or a cockerel, that makes reference to spring and the rebirth of Christ and therefore indirectly also to the Easter Resurrection, and they have a boiled egg set in the dough with decorative intent and symbolic meaning. But other breads for Easter also exist, across the whole island, that represent evangelical stories with symbols such as the palm branches, the cross with its ladder and pliers (tools used for the crucifixion) and also the crown of thorns.

The richest decorative breads are undoubtedly those products for marriages and the religious feast days. On the occasion of the patron saints many villages produce dedicate decorative breads that are given to the Saint for graces received or to ask the saint for help. They are often decorated in improbable ways with zoomorphic and phitomorfi elements of great delicacy and created by master craftsmen. Equally elaborate are the wedding breads that are given to the couple and guests as a sign of good luck.

Also on the occasion of death bread assumes a central role in the rites that accompany the departure of the dead. The relatives and the friends that participate in the celebration one month later are given undecorated bread (although always tasty and genuine) that reflects the seriousness of the moment.