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Arbois (Municipality, Jura, France)

Last modified: 2012-04-09 by ivan sache
Keywords: jura | arbois | pelican |
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[Flag of Arbois]

Flag of Arbois - Image by Ivan Sache, 9 April 2012

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Presentation of Arbois

The municipality of Arbois (3,471 inhabitants in 2008; 4,542 ha) is the capital of the Jura wine-producing area.
Arbois organizes the Biou festival, every first Sunday of September, the day of St. Just, the patron saint of the town. The festival is named for the biou, made of alternating horizontal layers of bunches of white (yellow) and red (purple) grapes fastened to a metallic heart-shaped frame. The top of the biou is ornated with flowers and a small French Tricolore flag flanked by two Arbois flags. The biou can be heavier than 100 kg, depending of the year (the bunches are given by the wine-growers of the area). The biou is carried by four wine-growers through the streets of the town into the church, where it is blessed and hung for one to three weeks.

Arbois is the town of Louis Pasteur (1822-1895), the famous microbiologist, who was in fact born in Dole but spent most of his life in Arbois. Pasteur is said to have joined every year the Biou festival. He owned himself a vineyard and did several experiments about alcoholic fermentation and improvement of wine and beer production. Pasteur's vineyard wine is still produced and sold every year at astronomical price.

Ivan Sache, 21 November 1999

Flag of Arbois

The flag of Arbois (photos) is vertically divided black and yellow, the colours of the municipal coat of arms, "Sable a pelican or in her piety".

Pascal Vagnat, 21 November 1999

A pelican "in her piety" is shown for instance on a stone frieze in the cathedral of Strasbourg and on stained-glass windows in the cathedrals of Bourges, Chartres, Le Mans and Tours. The pelican, according to Honorius (Sp. Ecc., De Paschali dei, 936), is one of the symbols of the Resurrection, along with the lion resurrecting her cubs, the phoenix rising from her own ashes, and prophet Jonas emerging from the whale. The pelican was said to kill her own fledglings and resurrecting them three days later by slashing her chest and shedding the fledglings with her own blood, the same way God resurrected His Son on the Third Day.

Ivan Sache, 26 October 2002