Fete du Pré de la Fadaise, Bourg-St-Bernard
Imagine a festival which has continued since the 13th century without a break. Well, that's exactly what is celebrated at Bourg-St-Bernard.
When Simon de Montfort's Crusade besieged Lavaur, legend has it that the young men of the town saved the only daughter of a rich widow who had been captured by the enemy. To thank the youth of the town, the maid declared that from henceforth, a tournament would be held in a nearby meadow to celebrate her release. The equestrian spectacle still takes place every Whit Monday at Bourg-St-Bernard.
Today, and even though Whit Monday is no longer a national holiday, the folk of Bourg-St-Bernard form a parade. The cortege consists of musicians playing traditional music, and folk dressed in traditional costume bearing "piques légendaires", which is what was used to defend and liberate the young maiden. The mayor rides a horse and is followed by other riders wearing medieval costume. The parade makes it way to about 2km outside the town to the famous Pré (meadow) and the festivities commence.
The winning rider gets to choose his queen for the day from the local lovelies and dancing continues until late into the night. Those medieval folk sure knew how to have a good time, and so can you if you head for Bourg-St-Bernard on Whit Monday!