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Photographer's Note

One more shot on my collection about the Great Parade of Celtic Nations at Interceltic Festival of Lorient. Here is the breton star : the "bigoudène". It is the name of women living in Bigouden, a peninsula in the south of Quimper in Finistère. Bigouden is known for its very beautiful suits (as you can see here) and most of all for its famous high headdress. It can be up to 35 centimetres height ! It was worn by a lot of women until the 70s and by about 600 women in the early 90s. But the old women died and today only one woman, Maria Lambour, 103 years old, still wears it every day. She is a kind of star in Brittany ! An experimented woman needs 20 minutes to put this headdress on, you can imagine how difficult it is to wear it on windy weather (and Bigouden is a very windy area !), and you can think how this headdress is uncompatible with modern life (try to get into a car with such a hat !), then you understand why this headdress disappeared ! Anyway it is still worn at traditional festivals. And it has becomen one of the major symbol of Brittany and is used as a logo for a famous breton T-Shirt brand, A l'aise Breizh.

The tradition says this high headdresse comes from 1675 and the revolt of the papier timbré under the reign of Louis 14th. In Brittany this revolt is known as the revolt of red hats (because the insurgents worn red hats) and gave its name to a recent social movement in Brittany. The revolt was strongly repressed : some insurgents were hanged, some were put in jail. And to punish churches that rang their bell to call to the revolt, the bell towers of some churches were destroyed. And the bigouden women said : "you remove our bell towers, we will have them on our heads !". The story is funny, but actually these high headdresses are more recent. They started to grow from early 20th century only until the 40s. Why ? Just fashion ! And of course seduction and pride !

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Additional Photos by Olivier THIERRY (chawax) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1312 W: 26 N: 2969] (18583)
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