Religious Festivals and rituals are a symbol of thanksgiving and appreciation to the Gods in every religion across the world. Hindu's rejoice in Diwali, a festival of lights, Muslims commemorate the end of fasting during Eid ul-Fitr and Sikhs celebrate Vaisakhi an ancient harvest festival.
Some religions hold festivities for unusual or alternative reasons. There are blessings of animals, clothing and buildings. Most religions hold a Harvest Festival of some kind, thanking God for fruitful crops and praying for a trouble-free winter and some religious festivals celebrate a certain food more specifically. Only the French and their tendency to over indulge in even the idea of food, which the rest of the world would deem excessive, could come up with this idea.
Every year in January, in a small village in the South of France they dedicate a Sunday and a religious church mass to a single food stuff, albeit a grandiose and rare foodstuff, worthy of saint like recognition. This food is the truffle, and the elaborate religious celebration of it happens each year in Richerenches a small town near Avignon in the Provence region of France. The Black Perigold truffle is celebrated during a Catholic Mass on the third Sunday of January every year.
Richerenches is an old templar town and The Brotherhood of Knights of the Black Diamond, the black diamond being the local nickname of the Black Perigold Truffle, parade through the town before the mass. The procession consists of the knights, male and female, dressed from head to toe in black with yellow sashes holding a gold medallion around their neck, signifying the truffle. Truffle hunting dogs accompany them on their procession through the village streets to the local church where the mass is held. Dogs have replaced pigs as the chosen hunter of truffles in the region, although fantastic sniffers, pigs were proven too greedy and would gorge on the truffles they had sniffed out before their truffle hunting master could dig them up.
During the mass truffles are blessed and prayed for, and the congregation offer truffles to the collection instead of money. The truffles collected are later auctioned off to raise money for the church. After the mass a huge banquet is held in the village where every course is based around truffles, and new Knights of the Black Diamond are inaugurated into the sect.
The mass has become a famous event in the calendar of Provence, the region in France where truffles are most prevalent, and has been held every year for over fifty years. The Sunday that it is held on is the Sunday of Saint Anthony the Abbott whose patronage includes animals, swine herders and basket makers, to this, truffles are added by the people of Richerenches, and with Saint Anthony's guidance and protection it is hoped that Richerenches and its surrounding area will be the world's epicentre of the Black Perigold Truffle for years to come.