Bataille de reines
- Sunday 14 April 2019
Among the popular festivals in Valle d’Aosta which draw great audience participation, even from outside the region, it is the “Bataille de Reines”, where the “Reines” (Queens) are the cows who, with their production of milk, even in ancient times were the pivot of the farming economy. The event, which is centuries old, according to some actually from the 1600s, is held annually and its programme entails nineteen elimination rounds in various places in Valle d’Aosta (eight in the spring, six in summer and five in autumn) for a final which is held each year in Aosta’s Arena Croix Noire. These were full-fledged “challenges” organised by the breeders with so-called “competitive” intentions and it is important to point out that then as now, they were promoted with the idea of improving the race, to encourage agriculture, and the veneration for traditions, folklore and tourism.
They are bloodless and instinctive fights for the cows, the goal is to establish a hierarchy in the group by electing the “queen” in a natural manner.
This challenge between cows inspired the dialect poet Jean-Baptiste Cerlogne who, in 1858, described it wonderfully in the poem “La bataille di vatse à Vertosan” (The cow fight in Vertosan).