Saturday, 28 June 2008

"Un long-weekend" in Villedieu-les-Poêles

It may have been only a weekend in length, but our recent visit to our twin town of Villedieu-les-Poêles was packed with events. Our little party from St Saviour could not have been better looked after. We had been invited by the Maire, M. Daniel Macé and their Twinning Committee to join them in celebration on Sunday, 8th June, of the Grande Sacre, a joyous mix of tradition, religion and fête day, the Grand Sacre is a major event in Villedieu-les-Poêles. Every four years, the Sourdins, as the inhabitants of the town are called (due to the deafness caused in olden times by the constant hammering on metal by these bell and pot makers), recognise the part played in the foundation of the town by the Knights of the Order of Malta (Chevaliers de l'Ordre de Malte), the Roman Catholic descendants of the Knights of the Order of St John. King Henry 1 of England, Duke of Normandy, donated the land to the Knights and they created this "Town of God". From 5.30 am, townspeople were awake, putting the finishing touches on their work. The streets were decorated with flowers and the day included Mass in the local park, a jolly good lunch, and an afternoon procession around the decorated streets of the town. It was an amazing and moving spectacle and we were delighted to have been invited to join in a very special day in Villedieu-les-Poêles.
Photos: Peter Hanning
More info on Villedieu and Le Grand Sacre:

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