Tuesday 2 November 2010

Who Are You Calling a Sardine Head!

As a teenager I spent many happy holiday hours cycling along the smugglers' and custom-men's paths which thread and sometimes hurtle along the rocky north coast of Brittany. Sometimes I was lucky to chance upon a pardon or a kermesse processing down by a small fishing quay, where a mass would be said and fishing boats blessed. Once I attended a spectacular wedding at Sainte-Anne-la-Palud where the guests processed over the sand dunes to the chapel. Even then the tradition of wearing the elaborately starched lace caps was beginning to fade. 'Of course they are beautiful,' I would be told, 'but very impractical!' And even back in the day, the very elaborate headdresses were kept safe for special church occasions, and simpler, smaller, though still decoratively needleworked caps worn for the business of the day, which was mostly to do with with a different sort of processing - that of fish and shellfish.
So it was that the working cap and the girl wearing it came to be called Penn Sardin - Penn being the Celtic word for head which we sometimes notice linked to headlands in the west of Britain - and Sardin being...well...sardine. Does anyone know if the traditional costumes of North Sea fisher folk has ever been the subject of a comparative study? I would be interested to hear.


  1. Hello Jacqueline. I read this french book: La marée du soir, from Colette Vlérick. Here
    you can read about this book.
    Have a nice day.

  2. Hello Jacqueline. I read this french book. Here you can read about this book.
    Have a nice day.

  3. No idea... sorry. :(
    I like the pictures.

  4. Thank you very much for this book reference - I shall order it.