Over and above being a dynamic and forward-thinking place to work and live, traditions in Monaco are greatly respected and valued throughout the Principality. Below is a list of a few of them:
French might be the official language in Monaco, but Monégasque, the traditional language, is the dialect of Ligurian, which just about disappeared in the 1970s.
Today it forms an important part of curriculums in schools and is displayed on the street signs in Monaco Ville. The language is also still spoken by some of the residents and Prince Albert made his speech in Monégasque during his 2005 accession ceremonies.
In 1924, the National Committee of Monaco Traditions was created by representatives from some of the oldest of the Monaco families to make sure the traditions remained alive.
Saint Dévote is Monaco’s patron saint, martyred in 4th century Corsica. When she died, she was sent off on a boat for a Christian burial. It is said that a storm blew over and a dove flew from her mouth to guide the boat carrying her remains to Monaco.
This is where she was finally buried. Her “feast day”, is one of the important traditions celebrated in Monaco on January 27th. The event involves a cathedral mass and then a torchlight procession that leads to Port Hercule.
At the port, a boat is burned ceremonially on the pyre followed by a beautiful firework display.
Saint John’s Day
This event is remembered and celebrated on the 23rd and 24th of June with traditional dance and music, and religious services over a bonfire or batafoegu in Monte Carlo’s Place des Moulins and the Place du Palais.
Martyr of Saint Roman
The Martyr of Saint Roman feast day is an event celebrated on the 9th of August with a concert and mass in the morning, followed by a lavish feast including the Monaco national dish Barbajuans, which involves a form of deep-fried ravioli, filled with herbs, garlic, leeks, ricotta, and chard.
Fête du Prince
This favourite appetizer is eaten with enthusiasm on Monaco’s National Day, known as the Fête du Prince.
In remembrance of Monaco’s traditions, this event is usually held on the Patron Saint’s Day of a reigning Prince. But to honor his father, Prince Albert chose to stick with the 19th November, known as St. Rainier of Arezzo’s day.
On the evening before the event, fireworks are displayed at Port Hercule, and on the 19th of November, Monaco is decorated in white and red colors representing their national flag.
The residents also dress in white and red. The Princely Family also attends the cathedral mass, followed by watching the parade of Monaco’s guards, fire department, and police with the festivities ending with an opera gala.
U Pan de Natale
In the days that lead up to the 24th of December, the bakeries in Monaco offer U Pan de Natale, a round traditional bread garnished with an olive branch and nuts. The bread is then blessed by the youngest or oldest family member and later shared among family members at Christmas.
Traditional Monaco Food
The La Condamine Market is the best place to find most of the traditional foods in Monaco, including Barbajuns, and Socca which is street food.
Originally from Nice, it is a very thin pancake made from chickpea flour, prepared on a griddle with pepper and olive oil, served warm.
The Monegasque fougasse, a sweet-tasting brioche is also popular at Christmas time, sprinkled with orange blossom water, raisins, and almonds.
For anyone thinking about moving or visiting Monaco, it is reassuring that this country still maintains respect and loyalty for its culture, language, and above all, its historical traditions.
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