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Art and Folk

My Mum's husband (I guess he'd be my step-father but I feel no bonds of parentage, they were married when I was about 30) a decent chap and makes my Mum happy. They're both painters and if you've been to our house you'll have seen the cow in the front room by my Mum and Frank's pastoral scene in the dining room.

Now Frank's got a website. I was particularly taken by the picture of Petassou which is on this page.

Petassou's a figure from Dordogne folklore, a sort of raggedy man that gets burnt alive with everyone's sins on Feb 3, St Blasius' day. The grass roots practice of Catholicism is sometimes a long way from its lofty source!

The other favourite in our part of France was jumping through the fire at MidsummerSt John's night. Also in France they favour, rather than a Xmas pudding, a Yule Log.

I'm sure there are suitable reference in Hutton's Stations of the Sun about similar English customs. I haven't read the book but the review says that:
"Responding to the widely-shared sense that England is a country which lost a crucial explanatory story about itself at some point, Hutton suggests that this story is not paganism, as many now suppose, but medieval Catholicism, which knitted together a ritual year, including its surviving pagan elements, holding its individual pieces in liquid suspension."
This seems to make all the more sense when comparing to countries where Catholicism is still culturally the norm, such as France.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 23rd, 2005 01:56 pm (UTC)
I think hot puddings are a peculiarly British thing (as I remember from Delia). I always rather preferred Yule Logs.

Interesting stuff about the Catholicism.
Dec. 23rd, 2005 02:20 pm (UTC)
That's usually true about French cooking but they have recently discovered the crumble and taken to it in a big way. Who knows, perhaps we'll be seeing la bitte tachetée à la crème anglaise in posh restaurants next year.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )