Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Festival of the Kiss (La Fête du Baiser)

Roquemaure, in the Gard region of south-eastern France, is a picturesque and very intimate village. But once a year it gets more intimate than usual when everyone starts kissing anything and anyone that moves.  For a whole day Roquemaure hosts the world's longest, most passionate, first, and only only kissing festival.

La Fête du Baiser, in honour of the patron saint of all lovers, is held on the Saturday after St Valentine's Day. Everyone dresses up in period costume and the wine and the embraces flow all day long.

By the end of it, the participants have lost all feeling in their lips and the power of speech. This is for two reasons. They have drunk too much and they have kissed and been kissed too much and their tongues forget how to form the right shape to make coherent sentences.  Some go a little further than the kiss, but who is truly keeping score?

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