The Tripettes of Barjols
First broadcast date
Nice reportage about the feast of the Tripettes, which takes place every year from 17 to 19 January in Barjols, a small town in the Haut Var.
This festival celebrates St Marcel, protector of the city since 1350, but also the savior beef who saved the town from starvation.
The religious ceremony (Mass in Provencal), is associated with the dance of Tripettes where the whole village, from the mayor to the parish priest, hop on one foot!
France 3 Marseille - Own production
Festivals and traditions
- Society and way of life / Public areas and social issues
Credits / Cast
- Bricet Gabrielle - Journalist
- France - South East - Barjols
The Tripettes of Barjols
A large town in the Haut Var, nestling at the foot of a cliff of tuff stone, Barjols was the last major tannery in Provence.
But its other claim to fame comes from a traditional winter festival called "les tripettes" (an informal word taken from "tripe", an animal's gut or intestine), the origins of which are lost in legend, half pagan, half religious. According to local tradition, Saint Marcel, born in Avignon and Bishop of Die in the 5th century, was buried in the monastery of Saint-Maurice at Montmeyan (commune of Haut Var near Verdon). Then nine hundred years later, in 1349, he apparently re-appeared to the guardian of the monastery and ordered him to take his body "to a more religious place". The collegiate churches at Aups and at Barjols both wanted the honour of owning the relics of the saint. In order to choose between the two rivals, the Count of Provence wanted to know how far Aups was from Barjols, the nearest would then be given the relics. While the monks were doing their sums, the inhabitants of Tavernes advised their friends in Barjols to seize the relics. Which they did, on January 17th 1350. On their way back, the group carrying the relics met some women who were washing the intestines of a bull slaughtered as a tribute to the animal which had saved the town from famine a few years earlier. With enormous enthusiasm the women formed a procession to accompany the relic carriers to the church, which they entered in a state of euphoria, singing, crying, stamping their feet with joy around the remains of the new patron saint of their town. Apparently this is the origin of the dance of the tripettes and the song "San Maceù, san Macèù, lei tripèto vendran lèù". Every year since that day, during the closest weekend to January 17th, Barjols celebrates Saint Marcel. People of all ages come and dance the tripettes and sing their chorus in the collegiate church. On several occasions the clergy has tried to stop the tradition, but in vain. At more or less regular intervals (on average every four years since 1930) the Petite Saint Marcel is replaced by the Grand Saint Marcel, during which a bull runs through the streets before ending up – on a spit. In 1958 it was a Little Saint Marcel, while in 1959 it was the Big. With the félibrige [a 19th century literary and cultural movement to preserve the Provencal language and customs, led by the poet Mistral] the celebration took on a folk character. Young girls dress up in traditional Provencal costume, fifes and tambourines accompany the participants as they parade round the town. Celebration, particularly with provencal customs, is the order of the day and the sermon is given in provencal – as long as there are priests who speak it. In 1963 the pastis-maker Ricard provided the posters, Camarguais gardians and women dressed up as arlesiennes. Since the 1960's and the spread of the motor car Saint Marcel has become a tourist event, bringing to Barjols hundreds of curious people.
Augustin Roquebrun, Saint Marcel à Barjols : La danse des Tripettes, éditions Augustin Roquebrun, Marseille, 1909.
Paul H. Vaillant, La Saint-Marcel et les tripettes de Barjols, 2e éd. 1968.