Provence – Christmas begins in Sablet

Last week in Provence Christmas – St. Barbe’s Feast, I mentioned that the “Pompiers” – the Firefighters of Sablet had invited all the village and all visitors who wished, to join them on December 7th for a Benediction at the Church of St. Nazaire (next door to our house Maison des Pelerins), followed by a candlelight parade to the Village for a Reception and aperitifs.

Christmas in Provence - St. Barbe's Feast Celebration in Sablet

Christmas in Provence – St. Barbe’s Feast Celebration in Sablet

One of our dear neighbors, Margret Storck  (who is a professional photographer), was kind enough to send me some fabulous pictures, so we can all share in Sablet’s celebration to welcome the “Calendales” – the Christmas Season. Thanks so much Margret, for the beautiful pictures that help us to have a little part in this celebration of the Season.

Here we are … ready and waiting … The Church of St. Nazaire looks warm and inviting on a cold evening, as the time draws near when villagers will gather for a short ceremony of invocation to St Barbara, asking for her divine guidance and blessings.

Christmas in Provence - The 12th & 14th Century church of St Nazaire in Sablet before the benediction for the Feast day of St Barbe

Before the benediction for the Feast day of St Barbe

The light from inside the Church, and the illuminated Campanile stand in contrast to the dark winter’s evening.  The lighted Campanile of St Nazaire – like a beacon guiding the way – can be seen for miles across the Le Plan de Dieu, when you approach Sablet at night.  (Had we been at Maison des Pelerins on that night, right at about this time, we’d be peeking from our front door waiting for the first arrivals before venturing over ourselves).

Christmas in Provence - Sablet - St Barbe's Feast - Igor wants to know what's going on in his neighborhood

Igor wants to know what’s going on in his neighborhood

But, before any of the arrivals could be considered,  a Final Inspection was necessary, and  … Igor has given his approval .. so the festivities can commence!

Christmas in Provence - St Barbe's Feast - Sablet -The arrival of the Pompiers

The arrival of the Pompiers

Out of the darkness, the Pompiers round the corner from Place de l’Eglise and arrive at the front of the church …

Christmas in Provence - Sablet - St Barbe's Feast -The Benediction

The Benediction

The Pompiers enter a packed church and are welcomed by the priest

Christmas in Provence - Sablet - The Benediction - statue of St Barbe

The Benedicton with the Statue of St. Barbe in a place of honor

The Benediction commences… the standard bearers have taken their place up on the altar, where the Sablet Firefighter’s statue of St Barbe is on display for the occasion.

Christmas in Provence - Sablet - St Barbe's Feast - The Benediction - The blessing

The blessing

The Benediction is coming to a close as the Priest walks through the church blessing the congregation with holy water

Christmas in Provence - St Barbe's Feast, Sablet -The Procession

The Procession out after the Benediction

The Pompiers lead by their standard bearer, file down from the altar past the statue fo St. Barbe, the Patron of the evening’s celebrations, and outside where some of the crowd are already waiting for them. At the end of the Benediction, each attendee was given a  candle lighted torch to carry, as the group prepares to make their way to the Reception down in the village.

Christmas in Provence - St Barbe's Feast, Sablet - After the benediction - everyone received a candlelit  torch

After the benediction – everyone received a candlelit torch

Led by the Pompiers, the procession starts to make its way from the front of the Church, down the steps that lead to Grande Rue, where they turn left towards Le Petit Portail.

Christmas in Provence - St Barbe's Feast, Sablet - After the benediction - villagers gather outside the church and prepare for the procession to the village hall

After the benediction – villagers gather outside the church and prepare for the procession to the village hall

… And all the family gets involved with this Feast day celebration…

Christmas in Provence - St Barbe's Feast, Sablet - After the benediction - Everyone is involved

You’re never too young to join in!

As the procession comes through Le Petit Portail and get closer to the Village center ….

Christmas in Provence - St Barbe's Feast, Sablet - The procession comes through Le Petit Portail towards the village square

The procession comes through Le Petit Portail

Nearing Place de la Croix –  in the center of the village, decorated with colored lights for the Season …

Christmas in Provence - St Barbe's Feast Day - Sablet - the Procession nears the Place de la Croix

The Procession nears the Place de la Croix

Out of the cold night and arriving at the Reception for Aperitifs … a Reception line awaits to welcome all who take part in the festivities.

Christmas in Provence - St Barbe's Feast Day - Sablet - The Reception line of Pompiers

The Reception line of Pompiers are ready to welcome guests

Sablet’s statue of St Barbara who is  seen here chained to her stone  tower, a fire fighter’s helmet, axe and hose below. She is the patron saint of firefighters, and those in dangerous professions and protects against  “sudden death” — such as death by lightning, fire, flood, and earthquake.

Sablet Firefighter's Statue of St Barbe

The Sablet Firefighter’s Statue of St Barbe

 

 

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