Contenido de sensagent
|Some notable Bretons or renowned people of close Breton descent:
1st row: • Nominoe: First Duke, Tad ar Vro • St Yves: Erwann, patron of Brittany
2st row: • René Laennec • Jacques Cartier • Anne of Brittany
3nd row: • François-René de Chateaubriand • Robert Surcouf • Jules Verne
4rd row: • J. M. G. Le Clézio • Alan Stivell • Eric Tabarly
|Regions with significant populations|
Predominantly Roman Catholic
|Related ethnic groups|
The Bretons are an ethnic group located in the region of Brittany in France. They trace much of their heritage to groups of Brythonic speakers who emigrated from southwestern Great Britain in waves from the 3rd to 6th century into the Armorican peninsula, subsequently named Brittany after them.
The main traditional language of Brittany is Breton (Brezhoneg) and is spoken in Western Brittany. Today Breton is spoken by approximately 365,000 people, of whom about 240,000 speak it fluently. Another linguistic minority is present in Brittany, namely speakers of the Gallo language; Gallo is only spoken in Eastern Brittany, where Breton has virtually never been. Breton is closely related to the Brythonic languages Cornish (closely) and Welsh (more distantly) while the Gallo language is a Romance language of the langue d'oil family. Bretons' native language is mainly French nowadays.
Brittany and its people are included as one of the six Celtic nations. Ethnically, along with the Cornish and Welsh, the Bretons are the last vestiges of the ancient British. The actual number of ethnic Bretons in Brittany and France as a whole is difficult to assess as the French government does not make such statistics. The present day population of Brittany based on a January 2007 estimate is 4,365,500.
A strong historical emigration has created a Breton diaspora whithin the French borders and in the overseas departments and territories of France; it is mainly established in Paris area. Many Breton families have also emigrated to the Americas, predominantly to Canada (mostly Québec) the United States and the first settlers of the French Antilles were from Brittany .
In the late 4th century large numbers of British auxiliary troops in the Roman army may have been stationed in Armorica. The 9th century Historia Brittonum states that the emperor Magnus Maximus, who withdrew Roman forces from Britain, settled his troops in the province. Nennius and Gildas mention a second wave of Britons settling in Armorica in the following century to escape the invading Anglo-Saxons and Scoti. Modern archaeology also supports a two-wave migration.
There are numerous records of Celtic Christian missionaries migrating from Britain during the second wave of Breton colonisation, especially the legendary Seven founder-saints of Brittany as well as Saint Gildas. As in Cornwall, many Breton towns are named after these early saints. The Irish Saint Colombanus was also active in Brittany and is commemorated accordingly at Saint-Columban in Carnac.
In the Early Middle Ages, Brittany was divided into three kingdoms — Domnonia, Cornouaille (Kernev), and Bro Waroc'h (Broërec) — which eventually were incorporated into the Duchy of Brittany. The first two kingdoms seem to derive their names from the homelands of the migrating tribes in Britain, Cornwall (Kernow) and Devon (Dumnonia). Bro Waroc'h ("land of Waroch") derives from the name of one of the first known Breton rulers, who dominated the region of Vannes (Gwened). The rulers of Domnonee, such as Conomor, sought to expand their territory, claiming overlordship over all Bretons, though there was constant tension between local lords.
Bretons were the most prominent of the non-Norman forces in the Norman invasion of England. A number of Breton families were of the highest rank in the new society and were tied to the Normans by marriage. The Scottish Clan Stewart and the royal House of Stuart have Breton origins.
Many French Canadians and French Americans with other French Immigrants in other parts of the Americas, including Jack Kerouac, Celine Dion, and Augusto Pinochet, being some of the most notable examples.
The Breton people are predominantly Roman Catholic, with minorities of reformed and non-religious people. Brittany was one of the most staunchly Roman Catholic regions in all of France. Attendance of Sunday mass dropped during the 1970s and the 1980s but other religious practices such as pilgrimages have experienced a revival. This includes the Tro Breizh which takes place in the shrines of the seven founding saints of Breton Christianity. The Christian Tradition is widely respected by both believers and nonbelievers, who see it as a symbol of Breton heritage and culture.
Breton religious tradition places great emphasis on the "Seven Founder Saints":
A "Pardon" is the patron saint's feast day of the parish. It often begins with a procession followed by mass in honour of the saint. Pardons are often accompanied by small village fairs. The three most famous Pardons are:
There is an ancient pilgrimage called the Tro Breizh (tour of Brittany) which involves pilgrims walking around Brittany from the grave of one of the Seven Founder Saints to another. Nowadays pilgrims complete the circuit over the course of several years. In 2002, the Tro Breizh included a special pilgrimage to Wales, symbolically making the reverse journey of the Welshmen Saint Paul Aurelian, Saint Brioc, and Saint Sampson. According to Breton religious tradition whoever does not make the pilgrimage at least once in his lifetime will be condemned to make it after his death, advancing only by the length of his coffin each seven years.
The Breton language is a very important part of Breton identity. Breton itself is a Brythonic Celtic language closely related to Cornish and a bit more distantly to Welsh. The Breton language as such is part of the Insular Celtic language group. In eastern Brittany, a regional langue d'oïl named Gallo developed; it shares certain points of vocabulary, idiom, and pronunciation with Breton. Neither language has official status under French law; however, some still use Breton as an everyday language (particularly those of the older generation) and bilingual road signs are common in the west of Brittany. From 1880 to the mid-20th century Breton was banned from the French school system and children were punished for speaking it in a similar way to the application of the Welsh Not in Wales during the 19th and 20th centuries. The situation changed in 1951 with the Deixonne Law allowing Breton language and culture to be taught 1–3 hours a week in the public school system on the proviso that a teacher was both able and prepared to do so. In modern times a number of schools and colleges have emerged with the aim of providing Breton medium education or bilingual Breton/French education.
There are four main Breton dialects, Gwenedeg (Vannetais), Kerneveg (Cornouaille), Leoneg (Leon) and Tregerieg (Trégor), with varying degrees of mutual intelligibility. In 1908 a standard orthography was devised. The fourth dialect Gwenedeg, was not included in this reform, but was included in the later orthographic reform of 1941.
Television programmes in Breton are also available on France 3 Breizh, France 3 Iroise, TV Breizh and TV Rennes. There are also a number of Breton language weekly and monthly magazines available to Breton speakers.
A fest-noz is a traditional festival (essentially a dance) in Brittany. Many festoù-noz are held outside Brittany, taking regional Breton culture outside Brittany. Although the traditional dances of the fest-Noz are old, some dating back to the Middle Ages, the fest-noz tradition is itself more recent, dating back to the 1950s.
There are many traditional Breton dances, the most well-known are gavottes, the an dro, the "hanter dro", and the plinn. During the fest-noz, most dances are practised in a chain or in a circle (holding a finger), however there are also dances in pairs and "choreographed" dances" with sequences and figures.
Two main types of Breton music are choral a cappella (kan ha diskan-accompanied with music or purely instrumental music. Traditional instruments include the bombarde (similar to an oboe) and the Breton bagpipes (biniou kozh). Other instruments often found are the diatonic accordion, the clarinet, and occasionally violin as well as the hurdy-gurdy. After the Second World War, Scottish bagpipes (and biniou bras) became commonplace in Brittany owing to the bagadoù (musical groups) and thus often replaced the biniou-kozh. The basic clarinet (treujenn-gaol) had all but disappeared but has regained popularity over the past few years.
Nowadays groups with many different styles of music may be found, ranging from rock to jazz such as Red Cardell, ethno-rock, Diwall and Skeduz as well as punk. Some modern fest-noz groups also use electronic keyboards and synthesisers, for example Strobinell, Sonerien Du, Les Baragouineurs, and Plantec.
Breton cuisine contains many elements from the wider French culinary tradition. Local specialities include:
Traditional Breton symbols and/or symbols of Brittany include the "national" anthem Bro Gozh ma Zadoù based on the Welsh Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau. The traditional motto of the former Dukes of Brittany is Kentoc'h mervel eget bezañ saotret in Breton, or Potius mori quam fœdari in Latin. The "national Day" is 19 May, the Feast of Saint Erwann (Saint Yves). The ermine is an important symbol of Brittany reflected in the ancient blazons of the Duchy of Brittany and also in the chivalric order, L’Ordre de l’Hermine (The Order of the Ermine).
William-Adolphe Bouguereau, Breton Brother and Sister.
Paul Gauguin, Breton Girl
City hall of Rennes
City of Quimper
City of Saint-Malo
Breizh.net – a non-profit association dedicated to the promotion of Brittany and the Breton language on the Internet Breizh.net