The Maimulu of Ulassai

The cult of Dionysus still alive

The term "Maimulu" refers to the carnival event that takes place in Ulassai.

The name "Maimulu" is a variation of the term "Maimone", the ancient god of the Sardinian mythology, linked to the worshipping of water and rain, invoked by farmers and shepherds: "Maimone, Maimone abba cheret su Laore, abba cheret su siccau, Maimone laudau"! ("Maimone, Maimone the wheat asks for water, the dried asks water, praised Maimone").

Photo by F. Demurtas,
Photo by F. Demurtas,

It is without doubt one of the most authentic and interesting carnivals of Ogliastra.

At the parades attend many masks of animal forms, including the most representative of all typical mask, the also called "Maimulu".

It is nothing more than an animalistic form covered in black goats skins with a cap of dark skin.

The mask has therefore animal appearance and is accompanied by other figures such as "Sa Ingrastula", with her face painted in black, wrapped in a long shawl, "Sa Martinica" and "Su Martisberri".

In this ancient event, discovering that the presence of the propitiatory rain dances clearly derived from pre-Christian times is really interesting.

Always present, according to some savants, is the clear reference to Dionysus.

The setting of darkness accompanied by the crazy movements of the masks are other curious and very fascinating elements.


01 January 2016

Mauro Cuccu
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