Brittany around the world
You can take the Breton out of Brittany…
Wherever Bretons go can become a home from home, and the widespread influence of Celtic culture means there are many places that share common values and similar traditions. What that also means is that you may come across Breton culture a long way from Brittany...
Historically, the people of Brittany were deemed by Parisians to be unsuited to city life, a thoroughly unfounded assumption as it turned out since that Bretons have proved themselves to be the most willing and adaptable travellers of any French regional and cultural group. There are about 4 million Bretons living abroad and, astonishingly, they make up around 40 per cent of French expats. In Paris alone, there is a sizeable and lively Breton culture in the capital – you can see it in profusion of Breton crêperies, exhibitions and folk music nights there, and even a fest noz event at the Château de Versailles.
A history of partying
It helps that a key part of the region’s festive tradition, the fest noz, or night party, seems to be particularly exportable – a way for Bretons abroad to celebrate their identity and share it with others. There has also been a concerted campaign, supported by the French government, to have the fest noz recognized by UNESCO as part of a global heritage to be safeguarded.
Sharing the love
Meanwhile, celebrations of the St-Yves festival and Fête de la Bretagne are held all over the world by communities in places as far-flung as Japan and Thailand – and Bretons are generally keen to establish links with other communities, particularly those with a shared Celtic ancestry, such as Wales, Ireland or parts of northern Spain, like Galicia. So, wherever you are in the world, the chances are you’re closer to a good time, Breton-style, than you might think.