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Occitanie (France)

Last modified: 2004-01-17 by ivan sache
Keywords: occitanie | star: 7 points (yellow) | cross: toulouse | felibrige | partit nationalista occitan | provence |
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Presentation of Occitanie

Occitanie is the name given to the area where Langue d'Oc was spoken, essentially 32 département of Southern France. Related languages are or were also spoken in the Aran valley in Catalonia, Piemonte alpine valleys and the Calabrian city of Guardia Piemontese in Italy and some villages in Wurtemberg (Germany, now extinct).

According to the maedievist P. Bec (entry Langues et littératures occitanes in Encyclopaedia Universalis, 1998), Langue d'Oc can be divided into three main dialects:

  • Northern Occitan, itself divided in Limousin, which was spoken in the traditional provinces of Limousin and Marche , Auvergnat, which was spoken in the traditional provinces of Auvergne and Bourbonnais, and Provençal Alpin, which was spoken in the traditional province of Dauphiné.
  • Median Occitan, which is the most closely related to the classical Langue d'Oc, itself divided in Languedocien, which was spoken in the traditional provinces of Languedoc, Guyenne, County of Foix and Roussillon, and Provençal, which was spoken in the traditional provinces of Provence, Comtat Venaissin and County of Nice.
  • Gascon, which is the less related to the classical Langue d'Oc, and was spoken in the traditional province of Gascogne and Béarn.

Ivan Sache, 2 December 2003

History and meaning of the flag

The original Occitan flag is the flag of the traditional province of Languedoc and of its historical capital city, Toulouse.  The cross on the flag is called the cross of Toulouse.

This flag, without the star, appears in the Flags of Aspirant Peoples chart [eba94], #65, with the following caption:

OCCITANIA (Langue d'Oc)
South France

Ivan Sache, 14 September 1999

The seven-pointed star was added to the flag by the Partit Nationalista Occitan, a nationalist/separatist organisation founded in 1959. It allows to differentiate the Languedoc province and the Occitanie as a group of provinces including Auvergne, Gascogne, Limousin, Provence and a part of Dauphiné. It is now in use by many Occitanists, not necessarily members of the PNO.

Joan-Francés Blanc 30 October 1996

The official explanation of the seven-pointed star is a reference to the seven poets who founded the Félibrige movement on 21 May 1854, St. Estella's Day (Estella means 'star').

This foundation was described by Frédéric Mistral as follows:

"... all of that having been done, it was noticed, well, that the 21st of May, the day of our meeting, was St. Estelle's Day; and, like the Three Kings, acknowledging the mysterious influence of some high circumstances, we saluted the Star who presided the cradle of our Redemption."

However, Mistral's report invoking a piece of luck is not backed up by the facts: on 21 May 1854, only five of the seven founders of the Félibrige attended the meeting.

Other explanations have been given for the symbolism of the Félibrige star: the Floral Games (Floralies) were reestablished in Toulouse by seven troubadours and again in 1859 in Barcelona.

Source: Daniel Estieu

More recently, a new political meaning was given to the Félibrige star. In a debate held in Senate on 8 April 1975, Senator Jean Nayrou said:

"The Félibrige spread step by step to Languedoc, Catalonia, Gascogne, Périgord, etc., that is the seven regions which constitute it, symbolized by the seven branches of the Félibrige star."

This is a reference to the seven branches of the Félibrige , but there is no evidence that the seven points of the star originally refered to these branches. It must be noted that the number seven has a kind of mystical value among the Félibrige, therefore several symbolic explanations can be presented.

Ivan Sache, 2 May 2003

Franco-Occitan flag

[Franco-Occitan flag]by Ivan Sache

Thierry Gilabert reported a Franco-Occitan flag used in the city of Lézignan-Corbières (Department of Aude, Region Languedoc-Roussillon, traditional province of Languedoc). The flag is the French national tricolore with the cross of Toulouse placed in the lower fly.

Lezignan is known for its wines (Corbières) and its Rugby League (jeu à XIII) team. The city is located in the middle of the area where the Albigensian Crusade took place in the XIIIth century.

Ivan Sache, 3 October 2003

Provencal flag with the Félibrige star

[Provencal flag]by Ivan Sache

Reconstructed image, original not seen

Pascal Vagnat found in the municipal archives of Marseilles a book mentioning a flag used by the Félibres in the XIXth century as the Provencal flag. This flag was said to be azure blue with the Félibrige star placed in the middle of the flag.

Ivan Sache, 9 May 2003