Burning the Pepettes

I walked back to the square after dark. It was a crescent moon and the street lights reflected back in the puddles from where the streets had been power washed.

There were still elderly men, resigned, scrubbing the fronts of their houses.

The tarps covering the building façades flapped like the sails of a ship, and the bathtubs full of lie are packed with garbage sacks and plastic cups. I passed a red headband, trampled, and a handful of green oak branches and turkey feathers.

There are handprints and splatters on the walls. The smell is thick and full of grapes. You can still here a flute playing that cheery marching Pailhasse song somewhere in the town, echoing off the buildings.

In the square, the drinking continued at the bar and spilled into the street. You can see men still in costumes, top hats and turkey feathers silhouetted in the orange glow of the street lights.

The effigies that had been hanging in the town square, representing the Pailhasse and the Blanc, have been tied together and set on a pyre of wood. A man in costume reads the “charges” against the Pailhasses in old Occitan, and condemns him to burn. As the flames ignited, the man said something like, “Until next year!”

Here are the final images from the square and my walk home.

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