the Quintaine

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The Sunday following the anniversary of the death of Saint Leonard, the equestrian competition, known as the Quintaine, takes place. The Quintaine is a miniature fortress in wood, representing a prison. (Its form is reputed to be based on the Château de Vincennes). It is placed on a pivoting post, on which it has to be destroyed by beating it with clubs, known as « quilloux » wielded by riders on horses at a gallop. This destruction of a « prison » symbolises the right, given to Saint Leonard, by King Clovis, to liberate prisoners. The ceremonial ends at nightfall when the Confraternity of Saint Leonard meet at the main door of the Collegiate Church and sing, with the participating crowd of townspeople carrying « brandons » ( flaming torches), the Salve Regina. They then march through the town to the main square, where they throw their torches onto a fire.

 

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Pictures of the Quintaine by MM Nicolas Duchier, Nicolas Mc Laughlin & Amand Plainemaison

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< The annual feasts of saint Leonard

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