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.
Popular belief in the power of witchcraft survived in Brittany, as elsewhere in France, deep into the last century but the spells and curses of the witch were often as benign as they were malignant.
Born into an illustrious and wealthy family, accomplished knight and brother-in-arms to Joan of Arc, Gilles de Rais, was appointed Marshall of France at the age of just 25 but his meteoric rise was matched by a ghastly fall. He is best remembered today as probably one of the most depraved and prolific serial killers in history whose shrine was, for centuries, a site of pilgrimage for expectant mothers.
A brief overview of the wolf and werewolf superstitions in Brittany
Brittany is home to many of France’s biggest and best-known festivals and celebrations. Take your pick from rock, jazz, opera, food, boats, Celtic music, literature, photography or traditional cultural events. There is sure to be something to suit everyone’s mood and taste.
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.
Brittany is often described as a land of myths and legends; a place where the distinction between the natural and the supernatural did not really exist until the last century. Much has been written about the legends and old folktales of Brittany but how was this rich vein of folklore mined?
Once, the main item of furniture found in the dwellings of rural Brittany was the closed bed or lit clos. The multi-function statement piece of its day.
A feast for the senses – the breads and butter of Brittany.