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Gipsy Festival ~ May 24th , Les-Stes-Maries-de-la-Mer, 2015

Gipsy Festival ~ May 24th , Les-Stes-Maries-de-la-Mer, 2015

The festival of Sarah. The festival of the gypsies. I went there with my American friends. The friends of the ‘sacred femininity.’ I dropped them in the middle of the village and then drove about 4 kilometers to the east, to park the car. It was full that day, mud full. It took me almost an hour to walk back to the center of the village.

On the way I passed several campers with gypsies. They were taking it easy. Some music, something to eat and to drink, not too much activity. They probably saved it up for the evening, or rather for the night.

The church dedicated to the ND de la Mer was full. People were slowly shuffling in. Down into the crypt they went to see Sarah. And to touch her. So wonderful to see with how much love and how much adoration they touched her.

Nobody knows exactly who Sarah was. Was she the daughter of Jesus and Mary Magdalene, as Sarah, which means princess, indicates? The real name of their daughter was Tamar. Or was she an Egyptian princess who fled together with the three Maries, being Maria Jacoba, Maria Salome and Maria Magdalena to France. Or was she the servant of the Maria’s. But there are also stories that she was a local princess and that she welcomed the royal party fleeing from Palestine, or from Egypt, to her little kingdom in the Rhone Delta.

The afternoon was spent with shopping, going from one restaurant to another, having a beer or something to eat. Here and there was some music playing. But it wasn’t real. It was all far too commercial. There were no fiery gypsy songs, no exciting dancing, just some average musicians, playing popular songs.

Late in the afternoon things started to get going. People went to the beach where Sarah would  come out of the sea. Thousands of them. Ten of thousands. Incredible. There were lot’s of children. People even went into the water with their camera’s to get a good shot of Sarah. Finally there she came, escorted by men on horses, the famous white horses. She stayed for about ten minutes in the water. One of the less experienced riders fell off his horse into the sea, but so what. He got quickly back on his horse.

Then the procession with Sarah and several standards went back to the shore. Surrounded by thousands of spectators. I don’t know what the fun of that exercise was. There were just too many people to make it into a spiritual spectacle. And then those poor men on their horses. Having to guard Sarah and at the same time making sure there were no accidents with all the people circling around them. Including some very assertive youngsters.

Back to the church we went, where I was able to catch her again. And watch the guard of honor on their white horses welcoming Sarah. Followed by a priest who followed her back into the church.

It was not like several years ago. When there were less people, and there was more music. When there was dancing and we still had a feeling of authenticity. Now it was a massive, commercial undertaking, completely male dominated, according to my sacred femininity friends. Good for the shops and the restaurants, but not for us. I don’t think that our spiritual growth really got a boost here.

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Wednesday, 18 September 2019

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