Saturday, 9 July 2016

The Gypsy Festival at Ste Marie de la Mer, France


While I was recently in St Marie de la Mer in France we planned our visit to coincide with the gypsy festival.  So I thought I would tell you a little but about it and share my photos.

The gypsy pilgrimage is a massive event for the small coastal town, with gypsies from all over the world coming together to celebrate the annual festival of St Sara.  


There are many different histories around St Sara, some of which you can read about here and of which I am no expert on!  However it is a highly important religious and cultural celebration which I am grateful for the chance to witness and document.  I made the conscious effort to maintain distance as an outside observer when taking these photos, as I didn't want to invade the festivities.  I was a little surprised to see how (over) zealous some people were when they were trying to get their photos!  

But onto the festival itself: 

Over the celebrations the holy items are first brought down to the church in town, then extended masses are held before the main event - the procession!  The various holy items, including the statue of Sara, are led by Camargue cowboys through the streets and to the sea before it is submerged!  The next day another smaller celebration and procession takes place through the town. 

It was amazing to be in the town whilst the pilgrimage was taking place, it was amazing to see and the whole town was buzzing!  It felt alive and was so fun!  Although, as there are big crowds I would recommend staying vigilant against the usual safety concerns but we were fine the whole week! 

I hope you like my photos, I also made a little video over on YouTube so let me know what you think of it! 

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