Pardons in Brittany : A religious and secular celebration that you really must see
In the Brittany of yesteryear, there was a dearth of doctors in the rural areas and when one could be found, his services were not always affordable. Traditional healing treatments were therefore widely used; one of the local healers most commonly consulted was the Bonesetter.
In the 17th century, the division between natural and supernatural differed markedly from our modern-day notions. The concept of the natural world was not restricted to things corporeal and observable but included the incorporeal and unobservable. It was not considered irrational to believe in the existence of spirits causing natural effects and it was widely accepted that demons and witches existed in nature, acting according to its laws.
Home to more hiking trails than any other part of France, many of Brittany’s ancient pilgrimage routes can still be experienced today, including stages of the Camino de Santiago and the Pilgrimage of the Seven Saints, offering travellers a chance to discover the country and connect with the past and themselves.
The folk customs and traditions regarding the celebration of Christmas differ from region to region in France, as elsewhere, and those in Brittany were once quite distinctive.
The traditional women’s headdresses of Brittany are one of the region’s iconic images. More than just a decorative item, they were an important symbol to your town and your position in it.
An echo of the region’s Celtic past, sacred springs were commonplace throughout Brittany with miraculous qualities attributed to many and were an important part of daily life even after the Catholic counter-reformation.
The Phantom Washerwomen of the Night stand out as one of the most striking and baleful characters in the rich folklore of Brittany; spectral women doomed to spend eternity labouring over their laundry from sunset to sunrise, terrifying unfortunate souls in the darkness.
One of the most commonly found creatures in the rich canon of Breton folklore are the korrigans; a race of capricious and contradictory magical dwarves.
Monumental ossuaries are a striking part of Brittany’s religious heritage. Although widespread in Europe between the 15th and 18th centuries, nowhere else did they systematically take such monumental form and stay in use for so long.