Monday, May 01, 2006

Festins des Mais

We celebrated Mayday out by the Roman arena at Cimiez in Nice.

Some events such as displays of dancing and singing - from hiphop to traditional Nicois dances and songs took place within the ancient Roman arena- which was slightly surreal.

The actual walls and arches were fenced off to prevent people climbing on them so i took these photos through the wire fences. Unfortunately the crowds and speakers and stage made taking other photos of the arena itself difficult.

The maypole - a bit different from the ones we are used to from the UK. People danced underneath but not with interlacing ribbons. There are lots of olive trees in the background as the most of the festivities took place in an old olive grove.
There were lots of people picnicking on teh grass under the olive trees and generally enjoying the ambiance.
The traditional dancers were from a group called La Ciamada Nissarda and they had dancers of all different agegroups - from quite young girls and boys to adults.
They were very good dancers and looked as if they were really enjoying themselves , which helps.

I really liked the contrast with the sea of red and white striped skirts and black velvet bodices with white lace. The traditional Nicoise flowerseller costume is really pretty
You can see the shallow crowned straw hat , the capeline, that was traditionally worn by female flower sellers in Nice hanging from the aprons.
Such a cute baby girl in the Nicoise costume being held by one of the male dancers. The male dancers are dressed as Nicois fishermen, with short trousers and a felted wool red hat. They wear a very long cummerbund called a taïola that looked quite difficult to put on correctly. We saw some of the men winding themselves into the taïolas with the help of someone to keep the length of cloth straight as they turned round and round.

Multi layered frilly underskirts

I fiddled with the following photos so they looked timeless, like an old colourised photo-postcard [if you don't look too closely at the bystanders and how they are dressed]I was holding on to an olive tree and taking photos above my head for the last two shots of the dancers dancing

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1 comment:

frank h said...


thanks for shearing