“Celebrating Tradition and Community in the South of France”
La Fête de la Saint Blaise, also known as the Festival of Saint Blaise, is an annual celebration held in the Provençal village of Valbonne, located in the south of France. The festival is a time-honored tradition that has been celebrated for over 500 years and is an important event in the village’s cultural calendar.
The festival takes place on February 3rd, the feast day of Saint Blaise, the patron saint of Valbonne. The festival is a celebration of community, tradition, and the rich history of the village.
The festival’s origins date back to the 16th century, when the plague devastated the region, and Saint Blaise was invoked as a protector of the local population. The villagers vowed to honor Saint Blaise every year with a grand celebration, and the tradition has been kept alive ever since.
The festivities begin in the morning with a procession through the village’s streets, led by a statue of Saint Blaise. The statue is carried on the shoulders of a group of men, who are called “les porteurs de la châsse,” and are dressed in traditional Provençal costumes.
The procession is accompanied by music from a local band and features dancers, acrobats, and other performers who entertain the crowds that line the streets.
After the procession, the statue of Saint Blaise is taken to the village’s church, where a mass is held in his honor. The mass is followed by a blessing of the throats, a tradition that dates back to Saint Blaise’s life as a bishop, when he was known for healing people’s throat ailments.
In the afternoon, the festivities continue with a grand banquet, known as “Le Grand Aïoli,” where the villagers gather to share a meal of fish and vegetables, all served with the famous garlic and olive oil sauce. The banquet is accompanied by local wines and music and is a time for friends and family to come together and celebrate.
Throughout the day, the village is decorated with flowers and ribbons, and the atmosphere is one of joy and celebration. The festival is a time for the people of Valbonne to come together and celebrate their rich cultural heritage, their traditions, and their community.
La Fête de la Saint Blaise is an important event in the Provençal cultural calendar and attracts visitors from all over the region and beyond. It is a celebration of history, tradition, and community, and a time for the people of Valbonne to come together and share in the joys of life. If you are in the south of France in early February, be sure to join in the festivities and experience the magic of the Festival of Saint Blaise.