July 20, 2013

0754 FRANCE (Brittany) - Dance Gwenedour of Pays Pourlet

Once, the Celts formed the largest group of peoples in Europe, covering a huge territory (from Ireland to Asia Minor, and from Iberian Peninsula to the South of Germany), and their contribution to the formation of the majority of the peoples in central and western continent was essential. Brittany (Breizh), previously a kingdom and then a duchy, united to the Kingdom of France in 1532 as a province, is one of the six Celtic nations which have survived until nowadays. It occupies the northwest peninsula of continental Europe in northwest France, and traditionaly was divided into pays or bro ("country" in French respectively Breton). One of these is Pays Pourlet, which spans around the commune Guémené-sur-Scorff, in the area where they speak a breton dialect of low-Vannes type, Pourlet Breton.

The traditional headdress and costumes are particularly original in Pays Pourlet. Generally speaking, men wear black trousers and jacket, plus a wide-brimmed black hat. The costume is called mil bouton (a thousand buttons), due to its profusion of buttons. Women wear dresses with tiered skirts. Some have elaborate bodices, but all have aprons, usually embroidered or decorated with lace, the extravagance of the decoration reflecting the wealth of the family. Women's headdress is called la brouette, in breton ar garr'kell (the wheelbarrow). Its size decreased over time, as opposed to that of Pays Bigouden. Reached very small as size to the mid 20th century, it's composed of four elements: bonnet, satin ribbon, under-glove with flanges forging on the cheek and the cap itself. The latter kept his wings, but very fine.

Generally, in Brittany can be found three different types of dances. The oldest dances, often performed as a three-part suite, are most commonly in lines or circles, and include the gavotte, an dro, hanter dro, laridé or ridée, or dañs plinn. The second category is made up of more recent figure dances influenced by British dances of the 17th century or French contredances of the 18th century: the jabadao, pach-pi and bals. In the third category, one finds couple dances introduced to Brittany in the 19th and 20th century, such as the polka, mazurka, and scottisches, adapted to become a unique part of the Breton heritage. The dance ilustrated in the postcard (dance Gwenedour), typical for Pays Pourlet, is a remarkable gavotte, both as form and as well due to the leaps of the men. It is a gavotte with mixed chain, snaking, but it may close for a while in a circle, before leaving again in chain, with another leader. In the latter part of the dance, start up a ceremonial rather complicated, in which is formed a small round by four dancers . That's when the men jump, as high as they can, supported by the women.

About the stamps
The first stamps are part of the definitive series Marianne et l'Europe, about which I wrote here.

The last one depict a painting by Edouard Manet, On the beach. It is part of a series with painting, about which I did't found anything.

This is a post for Postcard Friendship Friday #177, hosted on Beth's blog The Best Hearts are Crunchy. Click on the button below to visit all the other participants.

Breton dance - Wikipedia
Pays Pourlet - Wikipedia
Brittany Culture - Heart of Britanny

sender: Romain Cormier / Postcards of World (direct swap)
sent from Pont L’Abbé (Brittany / France), on 16.07.2013

1 comment:

  1. it's nice to see the postcard with postmark !