This month, our ‘Christian Heritage month by month’ column presents the Festival of Saint Vincent, one of the most respected events among winemakers in Burgundy, France. For more information, please visit the website of the Archdiocese of Dijon.
Saint Vincent festival is one of the most well-known and respected festivals among winemakers in Burgundy, France. The festivity yearly brings together all the fraternities dedicated to the Saint on the Saturday after 22 January in one village in the Burgundy hills.
To elect their Patron Saint, winemakers usually turn to Saints who have suffered martyrdom because their shed blood refers to that of Christ and, consequently, to the wine of the Mass. Even the iconography of the crucifixion sometimes shows angels collecting drops of blood from Jesus’ wounds in chalices.
Moreover, as St. Vincent was a deacon, he poured wine into the chalice before the consecration. In the iconography, Saint Vincent is dressed in the deacon’s dalmatic, holding a pruning knife – a tool symbol of the grape-picker – and a bunch of grapes, which evokes the copious bunch of grapes brought back by the Hebrews from the land of Canaan (Num 13, 23-24).
After the procession through the vineyards and the Mass presided by the Archbishop of Dijon, festive banquets bring together the guests: the first one in the yearly chosen village (Couchey in 2023) brings together the priests around the Archbishop, while the second gathers around the « Knights of the Confrérie du Tastevin », the old servants of the vineyard that become part of the honourable Confrérie.
Photos: Antoine Martel Photographes