Many traditions link walking to meditation and inner research, in the same way that the practice of pilgrimage in the Christian world was linked to prayer. Today as it was for the medieval pilgrim, this journey is recognized as a possible vehicle through which to succeed in getting out of everyday life by acquiring a new spirituality.
The journey to certain destinations, therefore, concerns both the pre-existing tribal societies to the main religions, and then subsequently involve the civilian permanent societies, with the phenomenon of pilgrimage. The origins of many pilgrimages reside in the practices of nomadism, and many destinations such as Mecca or Jerusalem or the Camino de Santiago, were used in seasons of abundance to make common banquets among Nomad companies.
The pilgrimage therefore originates from the celebration - from the joyful celebration and from the meeting of usually autonomous Nomad groups- and these feasts included a journey on foot, at the end of which banquets were set up and it was absolutely forbidden to fast. The origins of the feast of the pilgrimage date back to those moments of fusion in which the segments of the societies met, remaining a strong underground current even in the modern pilgrimage.
Within this scenario we find the pilgrimage followed by the Nomad communities still today, culminating in Saint-Mariès-De-La-Mer where the celebrations in honor of Saint Sarah are celebrated. During these days, the streets, squares and alleyways of the city are populated by Gitani, Rom, Sinti and Kalè who dressed in their traditional clothes play, dance, drink, celebrate until dawn, to the rhythm of ancient Balkan, Andalusian, Oriental or African melodies, and magnificent bullfights and games of ancient origins accompany the days of celebration.
It was a noble of Italian origins, Folco Baroncelli, a staunch defender of oppressed minorities, to ensure that since 1935 the gipsies could publicly celebrate their patron saint in the city. Since then the tradition is repeated every year giving life to a unique and exciting show to which also the singer Bob Dylan, after having participated, dedicated a song "One cup of coffe" in 1974.
The most emblematic and curious figure is Sarah, also called "Sarah la Kali", which is considered secondary by the Church, while it has a role of great importance for gypsies, so much to be considered the Patron of the Gypsies of all the world. His feast occurs on May 24, where thousands of devotees go to the church where her remains are stored and from there begins the real party celebrated with a procession through the streets and beaches, commonly known as Le Pèlerinage des Gitans , or the pilgrimage of the Gypsies.
A nomadic people accompanying the relic during the procession to the sea, where in the icy waves of the bay, it will be immersed three times, and then returned to the crypt of the church where it will remain for the rest of the year.
The most devout follow the statue, preceded by men on horseback, intent on receiving the blessing by touching one of the long cloaks that adorn it and creating a real dance between land, sea and faithful where sacred and profane elements come together in a magical balance , giving rise to a show that aims at tolerance and openness towards very different cultures, often discriminated and unknown.