Last Sunday the small town of Charroux in the south Vienne departement of the Poitou-Charentes region (not to be confused with the town of the same name in the Allier departement of the Auvergne region) hosted an ‘ostension’, a parade of holy relics through the streets.
It should have been a good opportunity to capture some interesting images, but the weather wasn’t helpful. It wasn’t as awful as it has been elsewhere, and could have been worse, but it was a dull, grey day. The town was decorated with thousands of yellow and white crepe paper flowers, strung across the streets, wrapped around lamp posts, adorning garden gates and window sills. These flowers are all hand-made, a labour of love that takes two months.
The roses are real.
The procession started at the church, from which a stream of people emerged bearing banners, and boxes, cushions and glass cases containing parts and pieces of saints.
The bishop brought up the rear, walking within a canopy carried by four men. As the procession covered a fair distance both down and uphill, it must have taken some concentration for bishop and bearers to keep in step.
Some of the participants wore costumes, others were in mufti.
I don’t know who these bones belonged to. They are clearly visible.
This lady found a novel way of ensuring her husband didn’t get lost in the crowd. 🙂
This altar at the foot of the 11th century Tour Charlemagne (our local version of the leaning tower of Pisa) was beautifully decorated, but the procession by-passed it, which seems a shame.
Behind the procession came a flower-decked van with speakers on the roof, where people took turns to pray and sing hymns for the benefit of all to hear.
Flower children scattered rose petals.
For some it was a solemn occasion.
But not for everyone, it seemed. 😀
The saints must have been watching over Charroux on Sunday and kept the rain at bay for the procession. Because for as far back as I can remember, it’s been raining almost non-stop.
This post is linked to the #AllAboutFrance linky, where you’ll find some other great blogs about France.