Each year in the night of January 16 many bonfires are lit across whole Sardinia in honor of Saint Anthony, a leading exponent of Egyptian asceticism of the third century AC. Christians see this ancient cult as a devoted opponent of the devils and hell fire. The legend says that St. Anthony stole a glowing spark from the world of the dead to provide mankind with fire.
That night, people ask graces and miracles to the Saint in an magical setting dominated by the bonfire consuming huge piles of wood. Mixing Christian devotion and ancient pagan traditions, this rite is documented since the mid-nineteenth century, but its origins are definitely more remote. After the liturgical rites and the blessing of the fire, participants regroup around the bonfire to chat, sing, taste sweets and wine offered by the community. The fire burns all night and the shape of its smoke supposedly predicts good auspices and prophecies. This old ritual also indicates the start of the Carnival.