Nîmes celebrates its biggest event, the Feria de Pentecote

17th May, 2016
Spanning a five-day period, the Languedoc-Roussillon city of Nîmes in southern France has just finished celebrating its largest event of the year, the Feria de Pentecote. It is just one of many exciting events held every year near our holiday cottages in France.

Running between May 12 and 16, the festival is an extravagant celebration of local tradition, and is unrivalled in the atmosphere and entertainment it offers. Families and people of all ages join in the fun, dressing up in colourful and traditional costumes, and each year, over a million visitors flock to the city to celebrate the event.

Every year, the Feria begins with the Pégoulade, a carnival procession which takes place on the first evening. During the Pégoulade, a huge procession of dancers, singers and brightly coloured and lit-up floats snake through the streets of the town, to the loud and vibrant music of the peñas and other folk bands. After the Pégoulade, the central streets of the town begin to enjoy a huge party, known as an abrivado, when the wine, champagne and sangria begin to flow generously and flamenco dancing fills the bodegas.

At the centre of the feria are the main events – the bull fights. Throughout the festival, thousands of people line the benches of the city’s Roman amphitheatre to watch the impressive and dangerous bullfights. Outside of the bullfights, there is always something going on, whether it be street parades, music from the peñas, water jousting on the Canal de la Fontaine or firework displays which round off the night with a bang. At the end of each Feria, the townspeople gather for the enormous Mass, held in Provencal at the cathedral.

Image: Wolfgang Staudt, available under Creative Commons