Forecasting the weather has always been one of mankind’s most vital concerns. The observation of weather patterns and their effect on the cultivation of crops gave rise to many popular folk beliefs and superstitions in Brittany.
Once common throughout Europe, the arrival of midsummer was celebrated from time immemorial by the lighting of massive communal bonfires, covering the countryside with a multitude of glowing points of light; an ancient practice that continued in Brittany well into living memory.
The humble honey bee has, from the earliest annals of recorded time, had a close, symbiotic relationship with humanity. Brittany possesses a rich tradition of beliefs and superstitions surrounding bees and beekeeping.
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 to the local populace. Traditional healing treatments were therefore widely used; one of the local healers most commonly consulted was the Bonesetter.
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.
A brief glimpse into some Christmas traditions from the Brittany of yesteryear.
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.
A sketch of some traditional folklore from Brittany relating to death and the afterlife
Pardons in Brittany : A religious and secular celebration that you really must see