Monaco Revue   
St Devote Celebrations 2008

On a refreshingly cool January night, we joined old and young Monaguesques as well as tourists who gathered in the courtyard of the church of St Devote for a truly Monaguesque celebration.

St Devote is the patron saint of the principality. As the story goes, she was martyred on her native Corsica around 304 A.D., but sailors who were trying to take her body to Africa for burial were instead led by a dove into Monaco's harbour. In 1070 her remains were stolen in an extortion attempt, but a storm prevented the culprits from sailing away. They were caught and severly dealt with.
Today, at each year's St Devote celebrations, a dove is released to remember how Monaco got its patron saint. And the sovereign, Prince Albert II, burns a boat, in a ritual expressing Monaco's anger at the plot to sail off with their patron saint's remains.

It was a simple yet joyful ceremony. After, with smoke wafting through the streets, we followed the crowds down to the harbour for a fireworks display. On our way back, we almost tripped on the fire hose that snaked along the route to the St Devote courtyard. There, we found a curious sight. The flames were gone, having been doused by the firemen. And in the darkness, scores of men, women and children, armed with torchlights or using the LCDs on their cell phones, rummaged through the ashes of the boat.

What were they up to? They were searching for nails, we were told. Tradition has it that if you find a nail from the boat, you will have luck for the rest of the year. It was tempting, but we didn't get our hands dirty sifting for nails. Instead, we found a proud owner of one of the coveted bits of metal, and she let us observe the charm at close range. Hopefully that will be good enough to bring us luck this year too.

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Comments to date: 5. Page 1 of 1.

Alec Dixon,  Arizona

Posted at 9:20pm on Tuesday, December 14th, 2010

Great information helped me a lot with my report!

Jessica,  Canada

Posted at 11:54am on Wednesday, March 19th, 2008

I really like this story...I think it's great that Monaco has this celebration!

Loretta,  Michigan

Posted at 6:45pm on Sunday, January 27th, 2008

God bless all the people of Monaco with the intercession by St. Devote on your special day.

Olivia Carolyn Sosa,  Austin,TX

Posted at 2:09pm on Sunday, January 27th, 2008

Interesting... I always attend St. Devote while in Monaco.

Jake Nobles,  Windsor, ON

Posted at 7:31am on Sunday, January 27th, 2008

Cool video. Thanks! We're planning a road trip this summer and Monaco is one of the stops.


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