30 julli: 6:30uur


Version Francaise

Nederlandse versie

30th July: 06.30 a.m.

The naturists of Mas de la Balma are invited by the inhabitants of Montbolo to take part in the PROCESSION OF THE RODELLA.

The origin of this procession goes back to the beginnings of Christianity. It is related that in 1465 a shepherd of Montbolo called Noguer de GASNACH had a vision at the Col de la Porta (Col de Formentere).

Two witches were bringing bad weather to the commune. Coming to the pass they stopped and one said to the other: "Pass!"

"I cannot" replied the other

"Go on pass. What is holding you back?"

"There are two saints Abdon and Sennan who are in front of me."

So the two witches took the bad weather and destroyed the crops elsewhere.

This story led to a feeling of gratitude amongst the inhabitants of Montbolo. They decided that, as from then, they would each year thank Saint Abdon and Saint Sennen for protecting them from the bad weather. Thus every 30th of July the inhabitants carry together a coil of bees wax fixed to a Christian cross as an offering to the Saintly protectors of Arles-sur-Tech.

The procession leaves on foot from the church of Saint Andrea of Montbolo at precisely 7 a.m. stopping at Pla Bernadou about 8.30 for refreshment in front of the house of the Barry family, prior to continuing towards Arles-sur-Tech.

At the entry of the village the Rodella (wax coil) is placed at the house of Rouet and about 10.00 the Saintly relics of Abdon and Sennen, carried by four Catalans in traditional local dress welcome the Rodella which has been carried from Montbolo. It takes the head of the procession to the church of Saint Mary of Arles-sur-Tech. The pilgrims kneel, embrace the saintly relics, and attend the Mass.

At 11.30 the extraction and distribution of water from the Saintly Tomb is carried out whilst on the square the sardane is danced.

The problem with participating in this procession is the return to La Balma at about 12.00. For those who go on foot from Montbolo to Arles it is necessary to arrange for friends who go by car to Arles-sur-Tech to bring them back.

I hope that many of you will participate in this procession.

Gilles Borrat (from Mas de la Balma)