Aveyronnais - Religion and Expressive Culture

Religious Beliefs and Practices. The Rouergue/Aveyron has long stood out as one of the most devoutly Catholic areas of France by such measures as church attendance, participation in religious pilgrimages, percentage of schoolchildren enrolled in Catholic schools, number of priests per capita, and percentage of population joining convents or the priesthood. As virtually everywhere in France, there has been a decline among all of these indicators over the last thirty years, but the Aveyron figures remain much higher than national averages. Arts. There once existed a lively oral tradition of stories, sayings, and songs in the patois, generally centered on wily or foolish peasants or animals. Although this tradition has not altogether disappeared from everyday life, it has been increasingly codified as folklore and relegated to performance by the several urban folklore societies organized especially in Rodez and Paris.

Medicine. Aveyronnais make ample use of bioscientific medicine (reimbursable under the French national health insurance plan), readily combining it with the use of healers who unofficially practice herbal medicine or the laying on of hands throughout the countryside. Some maladies are considered more treatable by one system or the other, but for many ailments it is considered prudent to try both.

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