Poya

In spring, it's time for the ascent to the mountain pastures with the herds. From 1800 onwards, quite simple paintings have depicted this seasonal migration. The pictures painted by the "armaillis" are called "poya".

These pictures were painted to provide an inventory of the herd and the people and equipment walking up to the high pastures, then they were hung on the front wall or over the windows of each house, a sign of prosperity. About 800 of them have been counted in the Gruyère area.

Nowadays a lot of artists are working on new paintings, their inspiration being these period paintings.

At Estavannens in May 1956 the first village festival, "The Estavannens Poya" was organised by the Association gruérienne pour le costume et les coutumes (Gruyerian Society for Costumes and Customs). It celebrated the 75th anniversary of the publication, on 21st May 1851, of a poem published by Étienne Fragnière relating the ascent to the mountain pastures. The festival has since been repeated several times - in 1960, 1966, 1976, 1989, 2000 and 2013.
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