Grape harvest festival, Vevey*


Category:
Performing arts
  • Social practices
Canton:

Description

*Inscribed on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of the UNESCO

About five times a century, Vevey is transformed into a giant outdoor theatre to celebrate the crafts of grape growing. The particular timing of the festival seems to reflect the life of a grape vine and the length of a human generation. This festival that exceeds all bounds is organised by the Confrérie des Vignerons, a society that dates back to medieval times when vineyard owners joined forces to ensure the quality of the work done on their lands. From 1772 onwards, the society decided to honour the best wine-growers with an award. The first public award ceremony was held in 1797, and was the first grape harvest festival as we know it today.
Although the festival continues to honour farming and winemaking traditions, it is no longer the pious procession of old. It has become a secular celebration of human toil and the fertility of nature, drawing on pagan allegories and Judeo-Christian costumes and symbolism (for example, autumn is represented by Bacchus). It also provides depictions of all occupations relation to working with the soil, and features a multitude of creatures like fawns and bacchantes, not to mention high priests and priestesses. Since the 19th century, the festival has been a veritable artistic extravaganza, involving poets, musicians and choreographers, and has held a special place in the hearts of the people of Vaud. For ten years they work on preparing the next festival, and then look back fondly on the one that went before during the next decade. Some 5,000 people took part in the last grape harvest festival back in 1999. The next festival will run from 18 July to 11 August 2019.

 

Image gallery

  • Autumn: Grape harvest festival, Vevey, 1977 © Anonyme/Copyright : Musée de l’Elysée, Lausanne, collection iconographique vaudoise
  • Shepherdess at the grape harvest festival in Vevey, 1927 © Schlemmer/Collection iconographique vaudoise, Musée de l’Elysée, Lausanne
  • Award-winning winegrowers: Grape harvest festival, Vevey, 1927 © Anonyme/Copyright : Musée de l’Elysée, Lausanne, collection iconographique vaudoise
  • Group of performers, grape harvest festival in Vevey, 1905 © Anonyme/Collection iconographique vaudoise, Musée de l’Elysée, Lausanne
  • View from the Market Square, Winegrowers’ Festival from Vevey, 1999 © Philippe Pache / Confrérie des Vignerons
  • Saint-Martin’s hats, Winegrowers’ Festival from Vevey, 1999 © Philippe Pache / Confrérie des Vignerons
  • Red Choir, Winegrowers’ Festival from Vevey, 1999 © Philippe Pache / Confrérie des Vignerons
  • Ceres, Goddess of the harvest. From top to bottom and from left to right its incarnations from 1865, 1889, 1905, 1927, 1955, 1977 and 1999. © Confrérie des Vignerons
  • Autumn: Grape harvest festival, Vevey, 1977 © Anonyme/Copyright : Musée de l’Elysée, Lausanne, collection iconographique vaudoise
  • Shepherdess at the grape harvest festival in Vevey, 1927 © Schlemmer/Collection iconographique vaudoise, Musée de l’Elysée, Lausanne
  • Award-winning winegrowers: Grape harvest festival, Vevey, 1927 © Anonyme/Copyright : Musée de l’Elysée, Lausanne, collection iconographique vaudoise
  • Group of performers, grape harvest festival in Vevey, 1905 © Anonyme/Collection iconographique vaudoise, Musée de l’Elysée, Lausanne
  • View from the Market Square, Winegrowers’ Festival from Vevey, 1999 © Philippe Pache / Confrérie des Vignerons
  • Saint-Martin’s hats, Winegrowers’ Festival from Vevey, 1999 © Philippe Pache / Confrérie des Vignerons
  • Red Choir, Winegrowers’ Festival from Vevey, 1999 © Philippe Pache / Confrérie des Vignerons
  • Ceres, Goddess of the harvest. From top to bottom and from left to right its incarnations from 1865, 1889, 1905, 1927, 1955, 1977 and 1999. © Confrérie des Vignerons

References and documentation

Publications
  • Sabine Carruzzo-Frey, Patricia Ferrari-Dupont : Du labeur aux honneurs. Quatre siècles d’histoire de la Confrérie des Vignerons et de ses Fêtes. Vevey, 1998

  • Sabine Carruzo : Fête des Vignerons. In : Lavaux. Vignoble en terrasses. Ed. Association pour l’inscription de Lavaux au patrimoine mondial de l’Unesco. Lausanne, 2007, p. 82-87

  • Confrérie des Vignerons (Ed.) : Balade à travers les Fêtes des Vignerons du XVIIIe siècle à nos jours, Vevey, s.d.

  • Confrérie des Vignerons (Ed.) : Directions concernant les soins à la vigne, la visite des experts de la Confrérie et le concours lié au résultat des visites. Vevey, 2000

  • Confrérie des Vignerons (Ed.) : Fêtes des Vignerons. Rétrospective du XXe siècle (DVD). Vevey, 2005

  • Confrérie des Vignerons (Ed.) : Statuts de la Confrérie des Vignerons et de la Fondation de la Confrérie des Vignerons. Vevey, 2009

  • Marcel Imsand et al. : Fête des Vignerons Vevey 1999. Livre-souvenir officiel. Lausanne, 1999

  • Pierre Michot : Le ranz des vaches et son écho dans la musique romantique. In : Bulletin de l’Association culturelle pour le voyage en Suisse no. 11. Lausanne, 2008, p. 37-54

Documentation