Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

Just a little wish to send you into your day.

Having recently learned the Provence connection with St. Valentine, I thought I'd pass that along as well for the celebration.

Excerpted from Provençal village of Roquemaure - known as the "French capital of love" - parades Saint Valentine's bones by Jules B. Farber:

Roquemaure, close to Avignon and Châteauneuf-du-Pape honors its adopted Saint Valentine, the patron of love, in mid-February with a three-day "festival of lovers" or "kissing festival".  It is here in this provençal farming village where the saint's authentic bones are encased in the parish church.

The celebration only started in 1988 at the instigation of the local priest, Father Durieu, who envisioned recreating the joyous religious procession led by the recreating the joyous religious procession led by the Archbishop of Nimes in 1868 when the deliriously happy populace filled the streets to welcome the relics' arrival.  A rich farmer had bought the bones in Rome and brought them back to protect vines scourged by a disease initially called taches (spots) de Roquemaure, later diagnosed as phylloxera.  In those days, farmers believed saintly relics could restore helth and strength to their vines, while protecting them against new disasters.  The holy bones did the trick!  The region's renowned Côtes du Rhône, dating from the 1st century AD, had been saved.

The priest had heard the legendary tales recounted for generations from father to son about the excitement and hope which had swelled over the locals during the arrival festivities and the resulting "miraculous" recovery of the grapes.  Also aware that mid-February was always a crucial time when the growers cut their vines in a non-ending battle to avoid the fléau fou, the crazy blight that had earlier destroyed the crops, he explained, "The Latin origin of Valentine is Valerem which means to give health and vigor."

Descendants of the wine growers whose vines were saved and remain in good health since the saint's remains arrived parade alongside seven wagons piled high with roots, each representing a principal cépage of their centuries-old, highly esteemed Lirac and Côtes du Rhône appellations.  Naturally, afterward, everyone settles down to the serious business of wine-tasting while a parade of horse-drawn carriages passes through town.

The moral of this little tale? 

Would you agree that it seems that things got better when love came to town?

with thanks to DutchMacVistoV2

I'm not quite able to be in an extended upright position just yet, so no promises but...plan to stop back in tomorrow to see the rest of the Stylish Blogger Awards!  There are 10 to go...(not 7 as previously mentioned...such complex math takes a clearer head!)  Fingers crossed...

In the meantime, spread the love, people...and the peace...


Char said...

oh yes...bono makes a lot of things very nice! :)

Half Acre Farm said...

No real comment, just started reading.

Hope Ava said...

What a charming story! What I love about Europe is everything has so much wonderful heritage and history...I get so tired living in Canada where everything is so new! I firmly believe I was mistakenly born here...I should have been born in a little stone house on the English moors, or in a little French village!
Hope you feel better soon!

Hope Ava

la fourchette said...

Char, ahh...glad you liked that one!

Half Acre Farm, welcome!

Hope Ava, glad you liked that. And thanks for the good wishes. I'm still down for some part of the count...fingers crossed that this starts to lift soon - I have to move house next week!


Melissa said...

I love your photos! I had no idea about any of that Valentine's Day trivia...

sewa mobil said...

Very nice, thanks for the information.

la fourchette said...

Melissa, thanks so much! I thought that V-day info was really interesting as well.

sewa, thanks! I'm glad you enjoyed that little trivia bit for the Provence connection to V-day.

Welcome to both of you - and many thanks to all who have been in for a visit, whether you stopped to say hello or just quietly passed through, thanks for reading.


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