Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Le Fete de Saint Cloud 2014!

What did I do last week end? Why, I was at the Fete de Saint Cloud, the patron of my village, Badefols d'Ans! Who was Saint Cloud? (that's pronounced: Sahn Clue) He was a son of the Merovengien KIng of Frankish Gaul, Clodomir, who was the son of Clovis, the great Merovengien king of France, died fighting in a battle with his brother Gondomar around 520 AD. The kingdom of the Francs was a fluid all depended on heritage and splitting the legacy between the heirs. Cloud's uncles conspired to split the kingdom between themselves, so they murdered Cloud's brothers, who would have inherited their father's kingdom. Cloud escaped and became immune from their plots by becoming a tonsured cleric. The Merovengien Kings of early France are referred to as the long haired kings, because long hair was the symbol of their power. Tonsuring was considered a renunciation of the power.  Cloud travelled through France and reputedly founded many early monasteries including the one on the puys of Chatre and Badefols, which are in eyes view of each other. The Monastery in Badefols was dedicated to St. Vincent and the Romanesque church was built around 1000 AD. Of course it was modernized around 1450 and it has some pretty interesting murals from the late Renaissance. But here in Badefols d'Ans, the clock seemed to have stopped ticking around 1917. We are pretty much set in our ways. Even the name of our village, Badefols is a story in itself. The roots of the name are Oc...the pre French language that is a melange of germanic, celtic and latin influences. It is a fluid language. Until the early 1900's it was the language most people spoke here. It parses like latin, but Oc spoken in Thenon and the variety of Oc spoken here, (we are talking of a distance of approximately 40 miles) could be radically different. For centuries, the means of connecting to the outside world was through the traditional network of market days in the villages. 
So, I digress, the name Badefols is based on the roots, Bade: barking, yelling...and Fols: idiot, fool....Badefols: Screaming Idiot....there was a hermit monk who lived in one of the caves on the hill Badefols was built on who made it his duty to wake everyone up on Sunday morning and get them to go to the church! He irritated everyone and became a legend and the legend gave us our name! I'm rather proud of this history, it seems like fate that a truly obnoxious (and I worked hard to be truly obnoxious) punk rock musician ended up here. I am truly the perfect screaming idiot!
At the beginning of the middle ages,  as the network of agricultural culture developed here, the Fete de St. Cloud became an important harvest event. Every year since perhaps 1000 AD , we have a three day festival that traditionally includes a veal calf auction and a market selling garlic, onions, squashes, pumpkins and melons. I don't know when the parade of tractors started. We have dances, communal feasts, fireworks, parades and exhibitions of livestock and farm machinery. There are awards for the best livestock. I mention the veal calf auction with reservations, because Americans do not know what veal is. This is one of the biggest veal regions in France. It has nothing to do with what you think is veal. The production is all free range and the calves are raised on their mothers milk. The cattle are the huge Limousin race, who I am surrounded by. Almost all of the valleys around my home are pastures for Limousin cattle. So enjoy this little slice of rural France. Who knows how long we will be privileged to experience this reality. The Banda d'Objat rocked the house!