In this region of France there is a tradition called “La Classe” – every year, those people who have a -0 birthday in that year process through the streets of the village, each “classe” (decade) wearing a different hat/costume. They then go on to have a boozy lunch with their friends and family. The procession will visit the Maison de Retraite (Old Peoples’ Home) if there is a Classe member living there. The procession itself is usually very raucous, as the 20 and 30 year olds have often started their drinking already, and there are copious supplies of kir flowing as well…
Today is the Classe for this year, and this morning the procession rolled through town, preceded by a “Fanfare” (Brass band)
I liked this young man, whose mother was playing her cornet in the band – all kitted out, he had his own toy cornet and flag
First came the 10 yearolds, wearing Robin Hood hats and costumes, all riding their bikes:
The 20 year olds always have a float pulled by a tractor
Almost all females, they were banging out rhythms on a metal drum, and offering drinks to anyone who wanted one! The CowGirls were certainly having fun!
Judging by the “0” sign, maybe someone on the trailer was looking after a baby born this year as well! The 30 year olds followed, sporting Mariners bobble-berets
and then the 40 year olds looking glamorous in Spanish red-and-black. I didn’t get a photo of her, but our friend Claire was in this group.
Another friend Gérome was in the 50 year olds – he really hadn’t wanted to be there, so was looking a tad bashful in his silver bowler
The 60 year olds had straw boaters with a fetching orange ribbon and a rosette – however, they had lost some of their contingent, as several ladies with orange accessories came hurrying past us a few minutes later.
After this it started to get a bit disorganised, as a couple of removal lorries and a motorhome had somehow inserted themselves into the procession by mistake! I missed the 70 year olds (maybe there weren’t any) but the 80 year olds had decided to drive a lovely old car:
(I wonder if the car was 80 years old too!)
When it was our “Classe” (2009) we didn’t really know quite how the system worked, and we also didn’t know many people, so we didn’t get involved. Maybe we will do it in 2019 – when we will be sporting orange be-ribboned boaters (or whatever the 60 year olds are wearing that year!)
Here is the procession coming back from the Maison de Retraite – the organisation has deteriorated slightly, there is rather a lot of mixing between the groups, and drinking seems to become more proliferate!! Only the bicycles are still in line!
This seems to only be a tradition in this corner of France – many people I talk to, even from places not that far away, have no idea what I’m talking about when I try to explain it to them. I think it’s a fun idea that brings the community together. Of course, it involves food and wine – well, whyever not?!