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The festival of Mai

The festival of Mai: the return of the sun in the spring is always celebrated in a special way in all the French regions, but on the shores of the Mediterranean, these celebrations are quite authentic due to their origins and their very festive atmosphere. In Nice, the spring is acclaimed in a traditional way by the unmissable festival of "Mai".

It is a tradition of Nice that has been perpetuated for more than 2,000 years. Already celebrated by the Phocaean Greeks, founders of the city, these festivities also took place during the Roman period as well as the different periods of the history of the city, under various sovereigns

Since their childhood, all Nice know this traditional festival of spring. This is an opportunity to meet as a family under the olive trees of the Arena garden in the Cimiez district. At these special picnics, snacks or "merenda" are made up of typically Niçois specialties like "socca", a crepe of flour of chick peas, "pissaladiéra", a tart with onions and anchovies crushed , the "pan-bagnat" which is a bread soaked in a Niçoise salad and many other Occitan culinary recipes.

The high point of the festivities is marked by the ritual around a wrapped mast, symbolizing the Tree of Life. The cyclic dance around the mast represents the race of the seasons around the sun. Meanwhile, groups of traditional music or dance animate the platform located not far from this symbolic object.

This Festival marks not only the definitive exit of winter, but it is also a day where the community of Nice finds itself, strengthens itself, speaks in its language, meets to sing and dance. Tourists who have the privilege of attending and participating in these celebrations remember them throughout their lives. They will have met there and made friends among the inhabitants and they will have especially had the opportunity to discover an authentic Occitan tradition.

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