The Principality, a Land of Tradition

Publication date: 05/10/2022
The Principality of Monaco may be small, but it goes big on history and tradition! Here is just a small sample of the best-known historical traditions that the people of Monaco come together to celebrate throughout the year. 

Every year begins with the festival of Saint Devota, marked on 27 January.
The young saint was martyred in Corsica around the year 304. Her body, laid on a boat by the island's fishermen, is said to have washed ashore in Monaco on 27 January.
Saint Devota has always been celebrated by Monegasques, and she is traditionally linked to Monaco and its Princes. There are services in her honour at every church in the Principality. She is the protective spirit of Monegasque identity, and her festival is an emotional occasion, culminating in the symbolic burning of a boat in her memory by the Sovereign and the Princely Family.

Next comes the summer season, with its heat, its vibrant colours, and its "Sciaratu"! But what is it?
The traditional Monegasque Carnival, known as 'sciaratu' from the Monegasque word 'uproar' or 'ruckus' has evolved through the centuries. At one time, people wore costumes and disguises in the streets of the Rock of Monaco at Carnival time. Children would make an effigy from straw and rags, called 'u payassu', which was hanged and burned on a terrace of the Palace. After many changes, the event proved so successful that the organisers moved it to the summer, so that residents and tourists alike could participate in greater numbers. The Carnival remains a hugely popular festival in Monaco to this day!

At the end of the summer, Monegasques come together around a "Cavagnëtu", which literally means picnic basket, and is an annual event held beneath the olive trees of Princess Antoinette Park in September.  The popular tradition is an opportunity for families to enjoy precious time together, each bringing their own picnic basket, often filled with local culinary specialities: pissaladières, soccas, fougasses, tourtes…
During the day, the Monegasque people come together around the Princely Family to end the holiday season with a smile!

Finally, the first shivers of winter mark the arrival of a grand tradition and an important occasion for all Monegasques, the National Day. Every year, the Principality marks its national holiday on 19 November, the day of the Prince's patron saint's day. 
Established by Prince Charles III in 1857, the National Day used to fall on the patron saint's day of the reigning Sovereign Prince . On his accession to the throne in 2005, Prince Albert II decided to keep the date of 19 November, in memory of his father. Medals are awarded, there are shows and spectacles, gifts are presented to older people and the disadvantaged, and there is a special fireworks display. The National Day is a day of celebrations and ceremonies, and also a chance for Monegasques and residents of the Principality to show their devotion to the Prince and his family.


credit: Charly Gallo / MairieMonaco / Eric Mathon - Palais Princier /  AS Monaco