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The Bonfires at the UNESCO

31110 BAGNERES DE LUCHON
 
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The bonfires of St. John and St. Peter's are part of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity!
The Intergovernmental Committee for the Protection of the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage delivered its verdict on December 2nd, 2015 and decided to include these fire festivals of the summer solstice in the Pyrenees to the intangible cultural heritage of UNESCO, recognizing formally the importance of these traditions for the communities concerned and the need to protect and transmit.
The application was jointly filed by Andorra, Spain and France. UNESCO welcomes more bidders statements for the development of a multinational exemplary record both in substance and in form.

The bonfire, is a traditional folk festival which takes place every year.
The bonfire of St. John (Fire Festival) takes place for the summer solstice, the day of Saint John.
The bonfire belongs to the cultural and traditional heritage of the town of Bagnères-de-Luchon.

For the typical embodiment of bonfire, the Mayor asked the NFB (National Forestry Board) granting a tree 10 to 12 m high, 50 m 0 central diameter debarked.
This trunk is transported on the central square of Chambert Baths. This is when preparation bonfire taking place following an ancestral rite, by qualified municipal staff. The trunk is carefully split over a large part of its length and its circumference with corners iron and lips are held apart by wooden wedges, all ligated by iron hoops to avoid bursting . The bonfire is then planted vertically to speed drying.
The day of the ceremony, all the slots are infested wood chips, straw around a trunk that form a highly combustible cladding. The bonfire is on to well-determined dates. The key date is the celebration of the fire on St. John, the second celebration of St. Peter.

The day of the ceremony, a parade on Allées d'Etigny is organized.
Leading the parade, a performance by fire breathers just recently added a contemporary twist, followed by folk and local Luchonnaises companies:
- The Municipal Band, the oldest of all musical associations (1875) located in the musical momentum of the 19th century, the golden age of bands.
- Folk Group of the Fils de Luchon dates back to December 1934 (dancers and singers). This group now includes over 80 members whose motto "Make love and loving the Land of Luchon" sums up the will to work for the good image and prosperity of our valleys. This love for our beautiful Pyrenees and our Country Luchon we pass as many through our culture, our costumes, our dances and traditional songs.
- Quadrille Luchonnais, created in 1991, aims to revive a glorious page of local history.
- The Compagnie des Guides à Cheval was created 250 years ago.The emerging Pyreneism, tourism is growing significantly in the last century to accompany tourists and spa guests in the mountains and to visit the sites of the "Queen of the Pyrenees" (name given to the town of Luchon). Today, it remains the matchless adornment of all parties and above all, it perpetuates the memory so dear to Luchonnais. Most surprising is perhaps the crack of the whip Guides Horse which is typically in Luchon, unique in Europe and perhaps the world. This is a real means of communication, language and each guide horse gets his own.

The evening celebration will gather in the square of the church folk group The Fils de Luchon (dancers carrying a bouquet of flowers, dancers brandon a small hand), wind the Compagnie des Guides à Luchon. They go parading on Allées d'Etigny. Arrived at the spa park, the Mayor and the parish priest, who joined the parade, will engulf the whole bonfire. It burns nearly an hour (depending on its state of drought). It finally collapsed in breaking. At that time, young people are rushing to the still glowing coals to capture a small brand and are whirling in the dark of night and the girls continue to try smudging soot.
As for the older people, they are content, while the firebrand cools, take a small piece of wood burned they take home to keep it because the legend says that it will bring luck to the entire home for the coming year ...

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31110 BAGNERES DE LUCHON
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