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Dionysian revels: Nice, May Day 2013:

by Ted Welch Fri May 3rd, 2013 at 01:39:42 PM EST


Fortune favours the flaneur again.

Late on May Day, just as I got towards the end of the Promenade des Anglais (so I'm sort of authorised to stroll there) a group of hippie revellers erupted from Cour Saleya, crossed the Prom and took this weird figure to the sea. It was all over in about 15 minutes - what serendipity !

I think the figure was supposed to represent Catherine Segurane, a local, legendary heroine, who is said to have helped repulse the Turks in 1543.

But the whole thing went back to earlier rites of spring. On the hill in the background of the first photo is Nietzsche's terrace. In The Birth of Tragedy he said:

... with the potent coming of spring that penetrates all nature with joy, these Dionysian emotions awake, and as they grow in intensity everything subjective vanishes into complete self-forgetfulness.

In the German Middle Ages, too, singing and dancing crowds, ever increasing in number, whirled themselves from place to place under this same Dionysian impulse. [...]

There are some who, from obtuseness or lack of experience, turn away from such phenomena as from "folk-diseases," with contempt or pity born of consciousness of their own "healthy-mindedness." But of course such poor wretches have no idea how corpselike and ghostly their so-called "healthy-mindedness" looks when the glowing life of the Dionysian revelers roars past them.

But there was also a reminder of the more recent, political significance of May day:

"Employment Code - premeditated murder":











The duality of Nietzsche's favorite metaphors, namely the succession of waves in the sea, on the one hand, and flame, light, and fire, on the other, demonstrates this duality of his Dionysian thought in which the eternal movement of energy is wedded to the ultimate stasis of unity.


Great photos, Ted!
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat May 4th, 2013 at 02:00:09 AM EST

Thanks, it was another reminder to carry a camera. Luckily I had brought the quite heavy Sony A77 with good zoom and, with the high resolution of the camera, it was possible to crop right in on some pics. Others were a gift, like the first, with Nietzsche's terrace neatly framed, which I barely had time to grab as they crossed the road just as I got there.

Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.
by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Sat May 4th, 2013 at 08:24:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]

Thanks for posting!  Looks like fun.
by ElaineinNM on Sat May 4th, 2013 at 03:03:45 PM EST
It looks more like Woodstock than May Day ;)

Hey, Grandma Moses started late!
by LEP on Sat May 4th, 2013 at 06:26:06 PM EST
It looks like the original May Day:

The earliest May Day celebrations appeared in pre-Christian times, with the festival of Flora, the Roman goddess of flowers, [see photo of girl with floral hat] and the Walpurgis Night celebrations of the Germanic countries. It is also associated with the Gaelic Beltane.

Many pagan celebrations were abandoned or Christianized during the process of conversion in Europe.

... Various Neopagan groups celebrate reconstructed (to varying degrees) versions of these customs on May 1.


Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.
by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Sun May 5th, 2013 at 09:29:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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