The title of this post is possibly a little boggling if you’re not familiar with some vaguely old French history, which I wasn’t until I did a bit of reading up around the subject. Here’s what I learnt. (Warning – history ahead. Feel free to skip to the photos section if you’re not into it. I won’t tell anyone!)
Félibrée & Occitan Facts!
Back in the day, some time after the Romans did their whole Empire thing, a region of Europe which covered much of what we know today as southern France, Monaco, some bits of Spain and a teeny bit of Italy, were united by the use of a language known as Occitan. As a result of this common language, and national borders not withstanding, this region became known as Occitania.
This language still exists today, and is an official language of Catalonia (whose other language, Catalan, is very similar), as well as Monaco and parts of Italy. Despite the majority of the speakers being based in France, and around half of France being part of “Occitania”, it is not classed as an official French language.
So that’s the language, which has been quietly dying off since the middle ages. To help rectify this death, in 1903 a chap came up with a brilliant idea to have a massive annual party to celebrate all things Occitanian, and there have been 93 of these parties since that day, a party which is known as a félibrée, or to in Occitan: a felibrejada. With me so far? We’re nearly through, I promise.
The festival changes location every year, and this year it just happened to take place in the village down the road from me, something which happens only once every forty years or so. Handy or what!
Photos of the félibrée
The festival lasted for three days, but the decorations, which clearly took some time to put together, are up until September. And, when walking around, you can really see why they want to leave them up – this was a serious labour of hand-made love. People from all over the surrounding communes banded together to help get this thing sorted out. Everyone pulled together, and the result was absolutely spectacular. As you can see from the photos!
Every single street was coated in these flowers. Each one hand made.
Even the road signs didn’t get away with it
The Piégut church was surrounded too!
The local Mairie got in on the act
A cross covered in flowers. I’m sure there’s a message here.
The village well got its own flower ring…
There was a show in Occitan. I had no idea what was going on, but it seemed to go down well.
No surface was left unattended.
Even the old horse drawn carriages got the treatment!
And that was the 2012 Piégut Felibrée in photos! Next year the festival will be taking place in the town of Bergerac – is this something you might be interested in attending? Let me know in the comments!