Sunday, 15 August 2010

15 August - Fête de l'Assomption

The 15th August is the Fête de l'Assomption which is celebrated all across the island. Of course, I had no idea what that actually was, except that we get a fabulous firework display – what more do I need to know?

However, I knew that my natural curiosity – some say nosiness, but I disagree! – would get the better of me, and I very quickly found myself on Google looking it up. According to the Roman Catholic faith (amongst others), ‘Assumption’ was the day that the Virgin Mary was taken up to heaven at the end of her life. Ah, that explains the candlelit church procession then…

At 11pm, the lights of the port (and more worryingly the lighthouse!) were doused, and the first huge boums were quickly followed by the twinkling coloured lights of the fireworks over the bay.

This year we were treated to three displays all on the same night, so not only could we see the huge kaleidoscope patterns over the port, but another display somewhere across the bay reflecting on the water.

The main display lasted about half an hour and just as that finished, the one at Porto Pollo started up. At first I wasn’t sure whether the ‘pop, pop’ sounds where a by product of the start of the hunting season, or something else but the deep black of the sky was soon broken again with falling glitter.

Calvi and Bonifacio have perhaps the most exciting celebrations as their displays are in the form of ‘son et lumière’ sound and light shows projected on to their respective Citadels, but the 15th August also marks the birth of Emperor Napoleon 1st, which make this date the high point of the summer season in Ajaccio…

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