Saint Remy Parade
by Wendy VanHatten
Not your typical parade, the mood is still festive. The procession, however, is serious. That’s because this parade is put on for the people who live in and around Saint Remy.
The entire parade requires commitment. The women make all the clothing. Their hair must be long and rolled up a l’Arlesienne. Nothing short of perfection.
Long before the brass band, in traditional costume, announces the start of the parade, people gather along the streets. Once the band starts their Celtic-sounding melody, people start clapping and looking for the first entrants. The guardians follow the band as they sit on their prancing horses with ribbons in their long tails.
Next comes the fife and drummers. Children follow, also in traditional costume. Girls wear long dark-colored dresses with white aprons and shawls. Their hair is piled high and covered with white caps. Their parents follow, also in costume. Everyone waves at the local baker, the fishmonger, the dressmaker, and family.
A long line of huge, docile draft horses is next. These beauties are brushed so they almost shine. Plumes adorn their bridles, bells tinkle on their harnesses, and sheaves of wheat sit on their broad backsides. We counted over 25 of these beautiful horses. Most had a small child riding on their backs.
These horses weren’t just walking. They were pulling the grand charrette. Its banner appeared above the crowd with the full Provencal name of the town…St.-Roumieren.
A flat farm wagon celebrates what the town and area is thankful for. Fruits of the earth are piled high on it. The harvest wagon is polished and decorated for gratitude.
Not like any parade we’ve been to, yet in so many ways similar. This was quite an unexpected surprise.