The "Festo Vierginenco"

Founded by Frederic Mistral (aka the "Felibre") in Arles in 1903 to promote the costume, the "Felibre" expressed the wish that each village has also its own "Festo Vierginenco".

Today, only one of Saintes Maries has retained this traditional day and we owe it to the Marquis de Baroncelli, which until 1939 was the organizer.
Nowadays, the Nacioun Gardiano, faithful to the memory of the Marquis maintain the "Festo vierginenco" Saintes Maries hwich still knows a craze.

This is an opportunity for young women aged 15 to wear for the first time the adult Arlesienne Costume and its famous ribbon.
The young women (called Chatouno) introduce themself with their mentors. They are dressed that day in a costume with a cotonade skirt, a black top, a lace white kerchief and a navy blue ribbon.
They are awarded with a diploma and pledge to wear the costume, to share their knowledge with other girls, to make live the traditions.

The bullfights, horses games, Provencal dances, the blessing of foals in the arenas and the parade of costumed young women make up the bulk of the day.

"Maintain and glorifying the costume, the ways and customs of Camargue and bullfighting countries, pursue the flourishing of language of Oc, spread the `félibréenne doctrine` contained in the poetic works of Frédéric Mistral and his disciples", is the motto of Nacioun Gardiano.