Friday, 30 July 2010

A Fete worse than death???

I’ve previously mentioned some of the strange ‘Fetes’ that the local villages celebrate – Cherries, Artichokes, Apricots, the Sardane, the Flame of the Canigou etc. etc. These pale into insignificance compared to the one I discovered last weekend. Prats-de-Mollo, a small medieval village up in the Pyrenees recently invited everyone to come and attend the annual “Fete du Slip”. Yes, the Underpants Festival! Here is my translation of an extract from the Tourist Office Website details:

The Programme: In the afternoon a 7-a-side rugby tournament and other diverse inter-village competitions will take place. This is a family occasion so everybody is therefore invited to remain fully-dressed. It is not until around 21h, after the aperitifs and barbecues that the participants will be invited to feel more relaxed. Underpants and swimwear will therefore be de rigueur when the foam party commences. Anybody is welcome to show off their underwear by taking part in the grand parade organised for the occasion.

Having done a little more research on the matter (thank you Google) I find that there is a story/legend that tells of a General who was so displeased by the performance of his troops that, as a punishment, he ordered them to complete an assault course dressed only in their underwear. The young men of Prats de Mollo decided that this was something worth celebrating and this is now an annual event run by a committee calling themselves ‘Les Slipards’. Who cares whether it is true or not – what a great excuse for a party!

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