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Home > Heritage > Traditions

 

 

Traditions and practices

 

In all countries, there are some traditions and in many cases being passed on to future generations. Some habits have given way to modernity, others well-established and continue to be part of our French culture.

- Churning
- Candlemas
- Christmas crib
- Christmas song
- Sugared-almond
- Mother's Day
- Vignacourt market

 

 

Gif bordure

 

Butter making by churning

The traditional wooden churn in barrel-shaped was a frequent model on the farms of Picardy and still relevant at the beginning of the 20th century. It allowed turning the cream of milk into butter after many turns of the crank.

Making butter was an art, this stage of churning was to isolate the fat particles from the liquid, buttermilk. The butter was then washed, kneaded and then divided into tub of butter. The wood brought a specific aroma to the butter. The butter was made after the milking of the cows.

The dimensions of the wooden churn were variable, of medium size or much larger. We can still see some models in Picardy, often transformed in the decorative object.

Baratte

This reasonably sized model is the one showed in the museum of the ancient trades of Naours village.

 

Candlemas

This celebration takes place 40 days after Christmas. February 2 for presentation to Christ at the temple. This festival of light was also known among the Romans, it was called Candlemas, whose ethymology is linked to candles. An older belief finds its origin in the solar wheel.

For the pancake tradition, this dates from the year 472, with Pope Gelase 1st distributing pancakes for pilgrims who came to Rome.

There are different recipes in each region and different names: Crepets, cruspets, vales, tantimoles ... In Picardy, there is a landimolle recipe.

For Vignacourt, it was the Ratons ;)  frequent until the 1950s after the war. Abel Theot was our street vendor of "Ratons" (former local names for the pancakes) during the first world war. They looked like pancakes but were much more fluffy because shaped with yeast. They have been gradually replaced in favor of lighter pancakes.

The sale of "dariolles" and "Ratons" already existed in the 16th century in France. Besides, the famous Rabelais (Alcofribas Nasier), particularly appreciated this type of pastries and especially those made in Amiens.

Darioles

Street vendor of "dariolles and Ratons" - former traditional pastries
Engraving of Pierre Brebiette from the 17th century « Source gallica.bnf.fr / BnF »

 

Christmas crib

The first Christmas crib date back to the 13th century. The nativity scene is presented in a living creche in the churches.

The Christmas crib with figurines characters was created several years later. The creche in the homes appear to the 17th century, in the wealthy families in particular in Italy, and is developed until the 18th century.

The child Jesus is in the barn, he is laying on the hay bed, between the beef and the donkey. Balthazar wears the gold, Melchior the Myrrh and Gaspard incense.

creche

 

 

Christmas song

Still Nacht is the german title of the Silent Night song written by Joseph Mohr and the music was composed by Franz Grüber after Napoleon's war.

This song has played for the first time in 1818 at Oberndorf in Austria and it had listen also, on the battlefields in 1914 during the Christmas truce.

Since 2011, it is recorded in the world heritage, it has translated into a lot of languages and reinterpreted several times in the world.

 

Mother's Day

The mother's day is celebrated in France, the last Sunday of May (sometimes at the beginning of June due to the Pentecost).

A ceremony in honor of the Mothers has been organized the first time, June 10th, 1906, to Artas a village of Isère (near Lyon city), at the initiative of M. Proser Roche, teacher.

The Lyon city set up a ceremony for the mothers who have lost their sons during the war on 16th June 1918. This feast was spread then, anywhere in France. This day was fixed definitely in the Calendar in 1950.

For this event, in the school, the children do some drawings, writes poetry on the cards, handmade small gifts and they can give some flowers to their moms, too.

 

Sugared-almond

The tradition of offering sugared almonds during baptisms comes from afar. Julius Dragatus, an awkward Roman would have dropped an almond in honey. He is a confectioner by trade, he will offer some to his loved ones for the birth of his son.

The improved version of the sugar coating the almond was invented by a Verdun apothecary in 1220. His objective was to be able to preserve the almonds. The appearance of this sugared almond has been reworked many times.

The tradition continues for centuries, today we have a variety of sugared almonds thanks to the inventiveness of confectioners.

 

Vignacourt market

The Vignacourt market was formerly of considerable importance, in this village of merchants. It lasted until after the second world war but to a lesser extent to stop in the 70s, the merchants were less numerous.

In the oldest times on these market stalls, we could find vegetables, poultry. Our renowned egg merchants shipped eggs until to Paris. They used to decorate their hats with beautiful feathers on market days and harangues the crowd.