Neighbours’ Day

There are certain customs that we like to see continue! For several years now, the community of the sisters of Elven – in the Morbihan department of Brittany, France – has been celebrating “Neighbours’ Day”, a celebration that brings together the residents of neighbourhoods, streets and buildings for a moment of conviviality, sharing good humour, usually on the last weekend in May. This year, the event took place on Saturday 27 January: around forty invitations were posted in the letterboxes of neighbours and friends, and around thirty positive responses were received…

On the appointed day, our guests arrived with joy and smiles on their faces, each at their own pace. As soon as they entered our house, we congratulated each other, kissed and started chatting, happy to be together again, to catch up on each other’s news and reminisce. 14h30. Everyone is here – 37 in all – and the party can begin! Our large room has been prepared for the occasion; everyone can sit where they like, near whoever they like… and we sit down near those we know best to chat, ask for news…  The atmosphere is already there!

And here come four delicious “galettes des rois”, cakes that are traditionally shared on 6 January, the day of the Epiphany, and which consist in designating the king or queen for the day, by means of a bean hidden in the galette. Accompanied by cider, we savour these shared galettes from which 4 beans emerge, i.e. 4 queens whom we crown as well as a king! A round of applause from everyone! Our cook for the day has prepared a delicious chocolate and coffee, served with little cakes. Then it was time for a song: our oldest -95 years old- launched into her song and sang in a voice that was barely tired, as if she were 20 years old! She was warmly applauded.  Then came the humorous stories told with brio by one of the sisters… A great success for her too!
Time goes on… everyone feels at home here! But everything comes to an end and we have to resign ourselves to leaving and going home, saying “See you next year”.

Afterwards, some of the guests we met told us how much they remembered this “Neighbours’ Day”. And how much so did we! 

Sister Jeannine TIFFOCHE, Community of Elven. Published on 3 February 2024