Auvillar is in a festive mood this month. We have been part of a number of celebrations in the village since we arrived in April, but this one tops them all.
50 days after Easter each year, Auvillar pays homage to the humble vine in the form of a traditional celebration and of course plenty of wine! It is called the Fete de St Noe, and St Noe is the patron saint of the vine.
The villagers dress in traditional costume, men wearing waistcoats and trousers with a red waist band and clogs and the women wear long skirts in red and white or blue and white striped material with a white top, apron and their hair in a small bonnet. The farmers and residents parade through the streets carrying a tree cut from the banks of the Garonne and placed up right it in the centre of the village (not easy when everyone is two sheets to the wind!)There is music, lots of dancing and wine flowing freely!
Following the two hour long parade, the market square is home to a large gathering, where food and drink are served with much merriment. After the food everyone goes to the church where the Priest heads another procession through the streets in the dark with the villagers following by candle light. A short religious service wishing the farmers a good harvest precedes dancing until the early hours to a live band with yes you've guessed it ... more wine!
We made our way home with a very tired little girl at midnight! All over for another year, or so we thought!
Next morning we had a knock at the door from a fellow villager delivering flowers to all residents of Auvillar with a small dontation to charity. We were then invited to the continuation of celebrations.
Things had kicked off again early in the morning with a mass at the church and more dancing, but we didn't quite make the early start! We made our way to the village for 3.30pm to be greeted by hundreds of revellers, dancing and playing music. There were shepherds in traditional costumes on stilts and a vine was paraded through the village at the head of the procession. More food and wine for the evening and lots of sore heads in the morning no doubt!
Certainly worth booking a weekend with us in France for next year.