The Pététas of Murviel-lès-Béziers

Near Béziers, in a village in the heart of the vineyards, rag-dolls bring historical characters back to life.

Every summer, the medieval streets of the circular village of Murviel-les-Béziers are opened up to a special kind of resident: the ‘Pététas’, which in Occitan means ‘dolls’. They represent trades and characters of the village. They are part of the community’s heritage and have a role to play in its festivals.

Dolls that tell a human story

Petetas, Murviel-lès-Béziers - Hérault, le Languedoc © Alain Grosclaude
Since 1997, a group of people from Murviel have been designing and making characters out of rags and straw in order to recreate trades, scenes from everyday life in the first half of the 20th century and characters from the village, such as the mayor, the butcher, the town-crier, the schoolmaster and his class, and so on. Every year, the 'Petetaïras', the name by which the ladies who create these dolls are affectionately known, search through their collective memories. They create new tableaux in order to recreate the time when it was work in the vineyards that gave life its daily rhythm: from the ‘poudaïre’ (pruner) to the ‘vendemiaïra’ (harvester), from the lady of the castle to the washerwoman, from the ‘martelet’ (mischievous children who knock at doors and run away) to the ‘pissadou’ (person who empties the chamber-pot).

Pététas Summer

Un boucher et sa poupée de chiffon, Petetas, Murviel-lès-Béziers - Hérault, le Languedoc © Alain Grosclaude

This celebration takes place from the end of the grain harvest to the beginning of the grape harvest. Between 14 July and 15 August there is a passejada – a procession from one porch to the next, with dancers and musicians. This pageant, as it passes through the village, depicts features of everyday life. It’s a time for enjoying yourself and discovering the local wines and getting to know the winegrowers who produce them. A buffet, a concert, a balèti (village ball) and a chance to learn the traditional dances of Occitania complete the programme for the event.

Find out more about the Pététas of Murviel or contact Les Pechs Tourist Office on
+33 (0)4 67 35 90 07

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