Touched down to Sète, in last year’s summer in Montpellier, and suddenly I was in the crowd of people by the port. out of curiosity, I joined them yelling, without knowing what or who to yell at.
And I saw this.
Water jousting festival!
Water jousting is a Languedoc tradition dating from the eighteenth century: the first jousting competitions took place in several Languedoc villages: in 1601 in Agde, then in 1627 in Frontignan, and in 1665 in Mèze.
In Sète, the first water jousting tournament took place the 29th July 1666, in order to celebrate the foundation of the port which was deeply linked to the digging of the Canal du Midi.
In the eighteenth century jousting tournaments opposed young bachelors in a blue boat to married men, in a red boat. Their pole, shield and uniform are decorated accordingly.
The jousters shake hands holding their spears vertically when their boats cross. Then perched on the boat platform (“tintaine”), their chest protected by their shield, they prod their opponent with an iron tipped wooden spear, with the aim of making their opponent fall over board.
These battles have strict rules, disqualification is immediate if they are not respected.
Amazing scenes guaranteed…