One of the most ancient festivities of Tarascon, it is rooted in a six century-old custom. It was in the 15th century that these festivals began, known under the name of the Games and Races of the Tarasque, instituted by King René in 1474.
On the last weekend in June, the tamed Tarasque comes out of its lair accompanied by its chevaliers, thus affirming its legendary presence. The people of Tarascon commemorate the moment when Sainte Martha delivered them from the evil beast by offering visitors 4 days of jubilation.
In April 1474, King René reintroduced in the style of the day the ancient rite of the Festival of the Tarasque and created the Order of the Tarascaïres, so that these festivities ?be maintained and conducted with dignity?.
The Games had to take place at least 7 times during each century and everyone had to ?make great fanfare, weddings, farandoles and feasts? for fifty days and ?give strangers the best welcome and regale them throughout the games freely and with pleasure?.
The games, very different from today, were conducted by the guilds, such as the carters, domestics and gardeners, in front of an expectant public ready to suffer the most pathetic jokes and pranks.
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