A magical night-time atmosphere that transports Aosta Valley inhabitants back in time
The Franco-Provençal term veillà ("wake") once referred to the long winter evenings spent in the stable with family and friends.
In the small communities of the Aosta Valley the veillà was a way to stay together: chatting, playing cards and carving wood while the men were performing maintenance of agricultural equipment and the women were spinning or knitting. On these occasions the latest news was exchanged and the elderly told the old stories and legends of the village.
Today, the veillà are celebrations that evoke the life of the past and that often exhibit the ancient trades and activities of rural life, also to the benefit of the visitors and tourists.
In Aosta it is time for the veillà on the night between the 30th and 31st January on the occasion of the traditional Sant’Orso Fair. Despite the cold temperatures typical of the end of January, on this night the towns of the historical centre of Aosta are packed with people: thousands of people take part in the tour of the typical cellars of the historical town centre where all you need to warm up is a glass of mulled wine in good company.
Other veillà take place throughout the year all over the Aosta Valley: Etroubles, Cogne, Arnad, Valtournenche (in the village of Cretaz), La Magdeleine, Saint-Nicolas (Fossaz and Vens), Morgex, Challand-Saint-Victor.