Saturday, 11 June 2011

New Wave (part 2 and last)

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The party in Cormatin started on a sunny Saturday morning at 11.00. All the Conscrits who had signed up, and paid for themselves and their invitees, gathered at the parking area of the Château, and were issued with the hat and rosette of their Classe. The boys born in 2000 received a black hat with a light blue ribbon, the girls of the same year a white hat, men and women from 1990 had a black hat with red, white and blue ribbon, etc.
There was no Classe of 1980 in Cormatin, but the other Classes had the following colours: 1970 - orange, 1960 - red, 1950 - dark blue, 1940 - purple, 1930 and 1920 - white with red, white and blue ribbon. The rosettes had mostly the same colour as the hats, and showed the year the bearer would have been 20 years old.
The party was not restricted to the inhabitants of Cormatin; people from surrounding villages like Malay, Taizé and Ameugny were also invited. In total about 30 Conscrits were involved.

After all hats and rosettes had been issued, the Conscrits lined up for a parade down the high street of Cormatin. But this was not going to be an ordinary parade. No, the Conscrits formed rows according to their Classe, linked arms and each row moved forward as well as sideways, alternating per row, and hence creating a wave like group wondering down the road. This is called the Vague d’amitié (Wave of friendship). At the end of the village the wave turned, and moved back to grind to a halt at the war memorial. There a wreath was laid, a minute of silence was observed, and then the wave rolled on, towards the community centre on top of the hill Saint-Roch. There Conscrits and friends and relatives met for a verre d’amitié accompanied by nibbles. Those who thought that this was the end of the story, are wrong. Next in line was a photo session with a professional, for group photographs of all Conscrits, and individual photographs per Classe. When this was over, it was time for lunch. Everybody got into their respective cars, and the whole mob drove off to Malay, where a copious 6 course meal was served. The meal took from 2 to 6 in the afternoon, and for those who had not had enough entertainment for the day, there was a band who played French chansons and did some cabaret, followed by a DJ who kept everybody going until the wee wee hours of the morning.
Looking back on this day, it occurred to me that had this tradition existed in the Netherlands in the sixties, I might have looked back a bit less harsh on my army days!

The website of La Tuilerie de Chazelle

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