Saint-Orso Fair – Italy


Every year, on the 30th and 31st January, is celebrated in Aosta the millennial Sant-Orso Fair.

Italia
Versione in italiano

Aosta, the city where I was born, is a place that has always fascinated me, a magical land and an enchanted place to which I am very attached. Perhaps the hidden reason of my feeling born from the uniqueness of the location, placed on the borders of our country, and by the fact that being born there has always distinguished me from the others, since I was a kid. On the other hand it is not usual outside the “Vallée” meet another person who is born in Aosta.  Coming back in Aosta during the performance of the Saint-Orso Fair excites me even more and gives me so much happiness.

Fiera di Sant'Orso - Artigiananto in legno
Fiera di Sant’Orso – Artigiananto in legno

From its origins to the present day

The Fair, which takes place every year on 30 and 31 January, has origins far back in time: in fact, this year the 1016 edition took place.

Originally, during this time of the year it was celebrated the approaching end of the cold winter, with the emergence of the first signs of a thaw and lengthening of the days.

Over the centuries, as in other situations, the pagan festivals and Christian traditions have merged so today the festivities are dedicated to Saint-Orso, the most known among the saints of Aosta. This man of God was charitable to the needy and keen to vegetable works to provide food and to heal the sicks with the wine made from his vineyard. It also seems that he used to distribute to the poors clothing and wooden shoes (sabots) in front of the collegiate church, which is now dedicated to Saint.

Today is the whole town to party. The picturesque cobbled streets, deserted in the cold winter, are populated by craftsmen who expose their works and curious visitors who are searching the “precious object”.The crafts are made with care; wood sculptures carved by skilled chisels but also iron, ceramics, soapstone, copper objects and embroidered fabrics.

Fiera di Sant'Orso - Artigiananto in legno
Fiera di Sant’Orso – Artigiananto in legno

Crafted products

On the stalls can’t miss the typical wood objects of the Valle d’Aosta:

  • the loving cup, traditionally used to enjoy in the great friendship the Valle d’Aosta’s coffee. From the spouts you drink a sip of hot nectar, turn the cup and provide the close companion, repeating the turn clockwise until you finish the coffee;
  • the “grolla”, a wine goblet of medieval origin;
  • the rooster, the symbol of rebirth and awakening from the darkness of the long winter months as well as a symbol of protection from evil spirits of darkness.

Finally we have the opportunity to taste the typical products of the Valley: the “fontina” (cheese), honey, genepy liqueur, the lard of Arnad, the “Jambon de Bosses” (ham) and precious wines. We obliged to fill the car by so many delights! Of course, it is impossible to resist.

 

But the Fair is also music and folklore; we meet in the squares folk groups that spread in all the center popular music notes of the peasant civilization of the Alps.

Visit the Saint Orso Fair is an unique, exciting and memorable experience. Then, see the expression of Luna, my dog (boxer), hop on a snowmobile under snow is nothing short of amazing!

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