Saints Mary of Camargue Tradition in Provence The South of France
Saintes Maries de La Mer Traditions, White Horses, Bull festivals, and the May Gypsy Festival.
In May the Gypsies come to the Saintes Maries de la Mer on the Rhone River Delta for their annual festival.
The festival in the Saintes Maries de La Mer of the Camargue brings together the Gypsies, the Camargue white horses and the black bulls.
They meet to honor the three Maries related to Christ, the Saintes Maries de la Mer.
On May 24th at 10 am the ceremony starts withe Mass in the church.
At 4 pm the Gypsies carry the statue of the black St Sarah to the shores of the Mediterranean as they honor their patron Saint.
On May 25 at 11 am the statues of Saint Mary Jacobe and Saint Mary Salome are brought to the shore.
On May 26 bulls run through the street escorted by the Camargue Gardians on the white Camargue horses. An afternoon of Camargue horse events and Provence bull events honors the Marquis de Baroncelli.
During the festival the relics of the saints are paraded through the streets.
These festival stem from a legend that states that Mary Magdalene, Mary Jacobe, the sister of Christ's mother, and Mary Solome, the mother of the Apostles James and John, along with their black Egyptian servant Sister Sarah and several others including Lazarus and his sister Martha were expelled from their homeland and set adrift in a boat on the Mediterranean.
They eventually landed in the Camargue at the spot where the town of Saintes Maries de la Mer now stands.
Sister Sarah has become the patron Saint of the Gypsies who come to the Camargue to place offerings to her statue in the lower crypt-like chamber of Saint Maries de la Mer's 11th century church,
The Gypsy spirit takes over in the Camargue as campers head for the tip of the Rhone delta.
The Camargue cottage, home of the Gardians, the tenders of the Camargue horses and bulls.
Arles is the gateway to the Camargue
The Camargue, Provence Traditions
South of Arles you will see the horses of the Camargue grazing in the fields and marshes often roaming free.
Speed limits will be clearly marked and the Rotary will be a welcome site with its directions to various towns. Gassing up is similar to US with credit card and automatic shut-off at modern pumps. Car rental are available in all large cities and at many TGV Train Stations.
Information for those renting a vehicle in Provence
The Camargue Guardians on their white horses join the Gypsies at Saints Mary to honor Camargue Traditions.
Together with the Gypsies and people dressed in the costumes of Arles, they come to the 11th century church honoring the Maries as the Gypsies parade with the statue of their patron Saint St. Sarah
Saint Maries de la Mer celebrates a similar festival or pilgrimage this one dedicated to Mary Salome, the mother of apostles James and John. It takes place on the nearest Sunday to October 22.
Another festival is held on the Saturday and sunday following December 3rd.
Saints Mary of the Camargue Tradition in Provence The South of France (Saintes Maries de La Mer) include a May festival that honors the patron saint of the Gypsies, Saint Sarah.
Saintes Maries de la Mer of the Camargue Tradition in Provence The South of France include a May festival of bull events and parades held to honors the patron saint of the Gypsies, Saint Sarah and the two Marys related to Christ who came to Provence in 42 AD.
The Camargue Guardians on their white Camargue horses join the Gypsies in Saintes Maries de La Mer to honor the Traditions at the May Gypsy Festival.
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The Gypsies visit the chapel in the church at Saintes Maries de la Mer on the Rhone River Delta flight candles for their Patron Saint Sarah