Monday, April 5, 2010

Fete de L'Oeuf (Festival of the Egg)

Today in Tourtour was the Festival of the Egg, at which eggs were decorated, hung in trees, tossed exceptionally long distances by young men, then caught by other young men. Huge decorative nests had been built in the plane trees over the sand of the boulles court, and eggs bigger around than a bike tire set in place in them, as though the dinosaurs had never left France, and had just stepped out of their nests for a few minutes.

There was one even more enormous Egg sitting in a nest of hay bales strung up in effigy next to the Church. I kept thinking that an army would pop out of it, like the Trojan Horse. It was even too big to have been delivered by the Trojan Bunny in Monty Python and the Holy Grail. But, of course, this being France, it is the Cloche (the Bell) who delivers and hides, not a bunny of any size.

Eggs were also being thrown about among wandering hordes of middle-schoolers, smushed on the heads of young and crushworthy girls by the boys who fancied them, and slopped along the roadways, left to bake in the sun for the next few weeks.

It was a significant departure from the festivals we've been used to in Aups -- rather light on the sale of agricultural products, and rather heavy on the whimsy, and the children's entertainment. There was an entire section dedicated to kids' games, where Abigail played with, or at least near, the other kids. Two friendly grownups were doing maquillage (face-painting), for some reason dressed up as Native Americans.

And all up and down the hill between town and the Church, there were giant musical instruments made out of wood, toys, old bicycle parts and even rubber gloves. They were made of wheels, of old saucepans, and hula hoops. One instrument was made out of recorders with some of the holes wrapped with tape, and connected to rubber boots so that when you smushed the boot, the boot would force air into the recorder and it would play.

It was sunny and warm and beautiful. The town was crowded with people who looked eager for the summer season to begin after their long hibernation. We ate a picnic together in a clearing, pulled together from the leftovers from everybody's Easter dinners, plus egg salad made of all those chopped up tumeric-colored Easter eggs.

1 comment:

  1. I just found you via Lindsey from A Design So Vast. I couldn't wait to read your blog. I spent a year in France (Rennes) with my parents and brother when I was 13 and long to do that one day with my family. It was a difficult and formative year - one of the biggest gifts of the many my parents gave me. I remember so much about that year - but strangely, I don't remember Easter at all. I look forward to reading more about your year. A bientot.