Every night a fest noz:
the new Celtomania
Brittany, more than any of the other Celtic-speaking countries, rejoices in its past. Drive through the countryside in July or August and everywhere you will see invitations to fest nozou and fêtes folkloriques – most of them ‘traditional’ events started in the last twenty or thirty years to provide a secular counterbalance to the far more ancient religious ceremonies called pardons held annually on saints' days.
‘La nuit de la saucisse’, held every July in the town square of Plestin in the Côtes-d'Armor, is a fairly typical example of a fest noz of the more elaborate kind. The main events are musical but there is plenty of food to be had from stalls around the square – moules et frites, crêpes, and of course saucisses, as well as wine and cider. The music varies from year to year but always involves traditional Breton music – the music of the biniou and bombarde – and group dancing. Everyone, old and young, locals and visitors, takes part. This is interspersed with the performances from invited musicians. The contrast between the offerings can sometimes be surprising. One year an impressive state-of-the-art coach drew up and a troupe of elegant young Galician dancers and musicians dressed in black and white traditional dress got out to give a display of Galician dancing choreographed with spectacular precision. Their act was followed by a group of English Morris men who had arrived on the ferry at Roscoff and cycled the 35 kilometres to the party evidently