Pierre-Charles Poussin: Pardon Day in Brittany
Pardon, from the Latin perdonare, — assimilated in form to donum, a gift, middle English, to the old French perdun and pardun, and modern French pardonner — signifies in Brittany the feast of the patron saint of a church or chapel, at which an indulgence is granted. Hence the origin of the word "Pardon" as used in Brittany. To these Breton Pardons come pilgrims from every side, clad in their best costumes which are only to be seen there and at a wedding. It is a pilgrimage of devotion and piety. The greater part of the day is spent in prayer and the Pardon begins with early Mass at 4 AM. Its observance, however, has actually commenced earlier, for the preceding evening is devoted to confession, and the rosary is generally recited by the pilgrims the whole way to the place of the Pardon. [Catholic Encyclopedia]
The subject of this painting is associated with the feast held in honor of Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours at Guingamp, which takes place on the first Sunday in July and the preceding Saturday.