France | Brittany

Festivals

Celebrations are common throughout the year in Brittany. Many are religious, like the Pardon (a type of pilgrimage) and Fête-Dieu(Corpus Christi); others are secular, like the traditional dances known as Fest-Noz. Some, like the troménies(religious processions), have ancient, even pre-Christian, origins.

Troménies

Troménies, a type of religious procession, are typically held between the Ascension and Pentecost, except in Locronan. Pilgrims follow a specific route around a sacred area of a given size. Troménies are not unlike ‘parish tours’ (pilgrimages to ancient sacred sites in Western Europe), but feature a number of aspects specific to Brittany.

In Locronan, a Petite Troménie is held each year in July, while a Grande Troménie takes place every six years. On the occasion, pilgrims walk around the base of Mount Menez-Hom, stopping at twelve stations, where each parish displays its saints and relics at outdoor altars.

Pardons

A Pardon is a typically Breton religious ceremony. The faithful gather to beg forgiveness for their sins, obtain a pardon or complete a vow. During a Pardon procession, Bretons in traditional dress march carrying banners and processional crosses. The religious ritual is usually followed by a social event like a carnival or fair. Most pardons are dedicated to the Virgin Mary.

[peinture #00622]
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Ceremony
Comment(s)
The people are carrying a statue of the Virgin Mary. In the upper scene, the people in red are vergers. They led every ceremony, walking in front of married couples, coffins, etc. Behind, the children's choir in their cassocks.
1942
France, Brittany, Ille-et-Vilaine, Rennes
Sketch, coloured pencil and grease pencil, on drawing paper
Credit: Frédéric Back
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