Who said that the wealth of ancient heritage was necessarily made of old stones and artefacts? And if we invite you to a popular festival several hundred years old still celebrated today? For Pentecost, let's go together to Bourg-saint-bernard for the Pré de la Fadaise festival.
One of the oldest festivals in France
Every Pentecost Monday, Bourg-Saint-Bernard and its surroundings meet in this meadow, below the village, for a party now codified but still very friendly, and this for more than 810 years ! It would be one of the oldest festivals in France...
The festival was created more than 800 years ago, in 1211 during the crusade against the Albigenses, led by Simon de Montfort, envoy of Pope Innocent III and the King of France. The legend says that it was during the siege of Lavaur, that brave young people of Bourg-Saint-Bernard delivered from the hands of the besieged the only son of a rich widow. This one, grateful, would have offered to the teenagers of the borough a big equestrian party in one of its meadow. She wanted this memory to remain marked forever and so, this event was celebrated every year, the day after Pentecost. Moreover, the very name of Fadaise would come from the Occitan “fadesa”, which means “foolishness”, “stupidity”, or “madness”.
Support the association!
A real institution in Bourg-Saint-Bernard, the Fadaise Meadow can count on many inhabitants of the village and the surrounding area to vouch for its centuries-old tradition.
The association Fadaise Meadow has the mission of ensuring the preservation and safeguarding of the festival over the years.
A busy afternoon!
If the party wakes up in the morning in the alleys of the village thanks to the stalls of the merchants and the animations organized in the streets, the great festivities begin at 14 p.m., when the mayor on his horse inaugurates the parade at the head of a foreign procession of false soldiers with their pikes and young and dashing horsemen. Next comes a float parade, today flowered and decorated, often with parrots, symbol and coat of arms of the village.
To festive tunes, the parade covers the 2km that separate the heart of the village from the famous meadow. Then begins the most traditional part of the holiday : no girl must remain standing, the boys are required to carry them to the bottom of the meadow, then to sit them in the grass as delicately as possible of course! The objective then being to be entitled to a “poutou” or kiss, which will at the same time allow the young ladies to get up.
This great moment of romance lends itself above all to great bursts of laughter!
Then, all the participants pick theGrass of Love, a grass with the particularity of having its fragile heart-shaped leaves.
Finally, in the most harvested part, a big horse race. The winner, after 3 turns of the field, is named King of the meadow and can choose his queen.
The procession then forms again, to go back up to the village and find the fun fair. There is a confetti contest in the parallel streets, but above all many refreshments in the central square of the village. The evening takes looks of a village festival most joyful. A fireworks, fired at dusk, and a ball conclude this exceptional day.