Gypsy Pilgrimage – Camargue, France

© Viviana PerettiThe third weekend of October, the saints Mary Jacobé and Mary Salomé are celebrated in Saintes Maries de la Mer, a small village in the heart of the Camargue, South of France. Gypsies coming from all over the region carry the Saints in procession to the beach for the blessing of the sea. Surrounded by the believers, the Arlesians, the cowboys wearing the traditional costume, and pilgrims, the Saints are blessed by the Bishop.

The emblem of the region is the Camargue Cross, composed of three elements: an anchor, a cross, and a heart, representing the three cardinal virtues of hope, faith, and charity. The unusual shape of the upper cross reproduces the trident-shaped tool used by the gardians, the ubiquitous cowboys who make up a large part of Camargue’s cultural legacy. The anchor does double duty, symbolizing the fishermen of the region. Continue reading “Gypsy Pilgrimage – Camargue, France”