THE FEAST OF TRANSHUMANCE

Vinon sur Verdon 2017 gmca 1A LIVING TRADITION IN PROVENCE

Transhumance is an enduring tradition in Provence: when the sun begins to burn the pastures of the plains, the shepherds and their dogs gather their herds to lead them to the green grasses of the high mountains. There, at altitude, they spend the summer months and return to the plains with the first frosts of autumn.

The transhumance, or the annual migration of goats, rams, sheep, and lambs from the low land plains of Provence to the mountains and from the mountains to the plains.

This medieval tradition disappeared with time, but it was re-established from the 1970s in Provence and throughout the Alps.

Marked by the participation of many shepherds, sheep flock through the streets of many towns and villages, accompanied by their partners: rams, goats and lambs, as well as the donkeys of Provence and many canines.

Vinon sur Verdon 2017 gmca 4THE FESTIVAL AND ITS PROGRAM

The departure and arrival of the herds is celebrated in many towns or villages in Provence and in the Alps:

  • Moulés, located in the department of Bouches-du-Rhône : Feast of Transhumance (fête de la Transhumance);
  • Saint-Martin-de-Crau, located in the department of Bouches-du-Rhône: Feast of Spring (fête du printemps);
  • Fos-sur-Mer, located in the department of Bouches-du-Rhône: Feast of Crau (fête de la Crau);
  • Eyguières, located in the department of Bouches-du-Rhône: Feast of Shepherds and Transhumance (fête des bergers et de la transhumance);
  • Eguilles, located in the department of Bouches-du-Rhône: Feast of Transhumance (fête de la transhumance) ;
  • Vinon sur Verdon 2017 gmca 5Vinon-sur-Verdon, located in the department of Var: Feast of Transhumance (fête de la transhumance);
  • Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, located in the department of Bouches-du-Rhône: Feast of Transhumance (fête de la transhumance);
  • Castellane, located in the department Alpes-de-Haute-Provence: Feast of Transhumance (fête de la transhumance);
  • Riez-la-Romaine, located in the department Alpes-de-Haute-Provence: Feast of Transhumance (fête de la transhumance);
  • Istres, located in the department of Bouches-du-Rhône: Feast of Shepherds and traditions (fête des bergers et des traditions).

Programs of the festival often include demonstrations of by herding dogs, sheep shearing, fairs offering local products, dances and folklore shows and hearty country food fare such as meat and poultry dishes.

Occasionally, this festival takes on a religious connotation, with the blessing of the flocks by local clergy.

Photos: Feast of Transhumance at Vinon-sur-Verdon

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