Our town will be celebrating its Occitan heritage this weekend. As readers of Labyrinth know, our part of France was once a separate medieval country. Counts and Lords ruled its various cities and states, which included areas of Spain. Across the region, the type of French spoken was dramatically different to the French of the north, the ancestor of standard modern French.
The word for ‘yes’ was ‘oc’, and that’s why our region is still known as the Languedoc – the Language of ‘Oc’! Occitan was still spoken by many of my colleagues’ parents as a patois, but few young people speak it at home now. However, our town is a bit of a hotbed of Occitan fervour, and we have an Occitan class (bilingual lessons in Occitan and French) in the Primary School, and optional Occitan in College. Last year Son 1 took an Occitan language and culture option, so he’s our Occitan guru.The town focuses its Occitan celebrations on that very French institution, the cartoon book. An Occitan cartoon book was very popular down here, around the 1940s, I think. Its main characters were la Catinou:and Jacouti:
Here they are outside our town church last year!
And here they stride out through the main square.
There’s so much going on to celebrate them and their language this weekend (and this hot on the heels of the Alterna’town event last week)!There’s a big market of regional produce (for ‘regional produce’ read ‘all of the duck except the quack’) and a two-day Vide Greniers :) Exhibitions, shows, music workshops, meals, meals and more meals (including duck products) are the order of the day.On Sunday there will be a Mass in Occitan and the first showing of a film about the creator of Catinou et Jacouti . I don’t think we’ll be going to all of it by any means, but on the Saturday we’ll do the food market and Vide Greniers, and I might just look in on the dance workshop. It could be fun, couldn’t it?
Finally, let’s work on your Occitan (and mine). Can you translate the following announcement about a successful Occitan Dictation event held this year in our town? Spanish or French speakers will have an advantage:
La dictada estèc un succès deus bères.
80 participants a la dictada occitana (70 lengadocians, 10 gascons)
40 mainatges de mens de 12 ans participèren a la dictada !
300 personas a la remesa deus prèmis !MERCÉS A TOTES !So, how did you do? Here’s the translation (well, of course I translated the French version – I couldn’t do much with the original):
The dictation has been a great success.
80 participants in the Occitan Dictation (70 in Languedocien, 10 in Gascon)
40 children under 12 participated in the dictation!
300 people came to the prize giving!
Thanks to all!
I imagine you won't be surprised when I tell you I won't be posting anything tomorrow! I do have some cute photos lined up for you on Sunday, though.
Have a great weekend yourselves, and thanks for all your birthday wishes for Ben and kind comments about the food. Some recipes will follow...