Life in Provence is magical and here are a few traditions.
Midnight Mass, Christmas Eve
Pastoral memories mixed with Christmas ritual, as five lambs participate in the ceremony.
Thirteen Christmas desserts
Symbolizing Christ and the Apostles, the meal of the Christmas Eve includes dried fruit and griddle cakes.
Scenes are made of biblical characters with Santon figures of Provencal villagers.
Fete de la Saint Jean
In Valreas medieval parades attend the election of a boy-child to “protect the town”.
Fete des Tripettes, Barjols
Incongruously, celebrates both the relics of St Marcel and the importance of the bulls. 2nd weekend January
Fete de La Tarasque, Tarascon
Tarasque “reappears” to terrify revellers. Last weekend of June.
Fete de la Transhumance, Riez
Takes place on Sunday, mid-jun. Sheep cross the village to upland pasture, giving rise to festivities.
Fete de La Lavande, Sault
Takes places on August 15. The heartland of Lavender celebrates its traditions.
Fete des Mimosas, Bormes -les- Mimosas
Lots of festivities amid the flowers. This event takes place every year as well, Mid-Feb.
Fete des Vins
The wine district welcomes the new vintage. Takes place the first Sunday of December.
The legend tells how a boat carrying Mary Jacobs, sister of the Virgin Mary and Mary Salome, mother of the apostoles James and John, were washed ashore at this seaside village between the Rhone and the Mediterranean. their statues in the 12th-century Romanesque church of Notre-Dame-de-la-Mer recall the event. In the crypt, dressed in sequined robes,is a third statue: that of their maidservant, Sara venerated by the Gypsies. The three saints are carried in procession to the sea on May 24 and 25 of each year.
According to Legend Ste Martha brought the Tarasque , a six-legged, man- eating monster to its knees by showing it a crucifix. The Collegiate Church built between the 12th and 15th centuries and containing works by Mignard, Vien and Parrocel is dedicated to her. Opposite stands one of France‘s finest medieval castles ( 1400-49), once home to that bon vivant King Rene. The very well preserved keep, the courtyard, kitchens and the kings luxurious apartments ( complete with his chafing dish) still survive today.
in 1777 a sheperd boy named Benezet received orders from God that a bridge should be built across the Rhone. People in Avignon were very sceptical, so the young boy picked up a rock which 30 strong men could not move and carried to where Saint-Benezet was to begin.
The ocher cliffs of the Roussilon. The legend has it that the wife of a noble man, Sirmonde fell in love with a troubadour, the Lord had him killed and she threw herself from the top of the cliffs after her husband forced her to eat her dead lover’s heart. The earth turned scarlet with her blood, and rocks and villages were left with a permanent rosy glow.
Saint Maximin de- la-Sainte -Baume
After she landed in Provence, Mary-Magdeleine spread the Christian word, before spending her last years praying in a cave in the Sainte-Baume mountains. her remains were discovered in the 13th century and may be seen in the Gothic basilica. The Gothic architecture , without stained glass, creates an unusual light.
Catherine Segurane, Nice
Catherine led Nicoise resistance against the Turkish Fleet that besieged the city of Nice in 1543.She knocked out the Turkish standard bearer with her washboard, before lifting her skirts and putting the Turks to fight. The day was lost , but Catherine‘s statue is in the Old Nice.
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