Sunday, June 22, 2008
La fete des Mais - a tradition revived. Part 1
This morning our new town council resurrected an old tradition: "La fete des Mais". Literally "the Corn Festival", but really a very old tradition honoring the Earth Goddess which goes back to pre-Christian times. It typically held on the Sunday following the longest day of the year.
Here is the painted tree ready to be put in place. This is the traditional offering. The location was outside the village, but still in the commune. Just outside in fact of the new Mayor's gate. Interesting.
As you can see we had a pretty good turnout both young & old. About 75 people I'd estimate which is not bad for a commune of only just over 400 people.
We had some nice decorations as well as a 'friendly' drink before the actual raising of the pole. I must say that the raising was dome most efficiently. The guys seemed to be well organized and know what they were doing. Here's a pretty self explanatory set of pictures of the process. For the sake of scale I'd say the pole is about 50 feet high.
For the rest of the story see part 2 as this was only the start of the day's festivities.
You just have to love France and the French when they do things like this. They do them well, wholeheartedly and with a great sense of occasion and propriety. I love it!