Burgundy is old-school. I’m not only talking about the wine styles, it’s an old-school region of France, very rural and quite attached to its traditions and its way of life. And obviously, as wine is a huge part of the Burgundian culture, there are old-school wine traditions.
Take the Confrerie du Tastevin for example (roughly translates as Brotherhood of the Knights of the Wine-Tasting Cup), it’s a knightly order which dates back to the 1700s and was rejuvenated in 1943. Yes, a knightly order, like the Templars, I’ll let that sink for a second. They have ranks and everything, my grandfather was a Commander for instance. Of course they focus on tasting and promoting burgundy wine, not on smiting the infidel which makes them somewhat more suited to modern life (and infinitely better dinner guests). They organize tasting and rankings every year at the Chateau de Vougeot. They also dress up as extras in a Harry Potter movie but let’s not dwell too much on the details.
The Tastevin hosts dinner events and these are the perfect setting for singing Burgundian drinking songs, of which there are many. In the interest of full disclosure, we sing these songs at dinner whenever we have a family event. Among favorites you will find “ Joyeux Enfants de la Bourgogne” (Happy children of Burgundy) with this immortal line “ when my face flushes red from drinking, I am proud to be Burgundian”. Another common song is Fanchon, about a peasant girl who likes to drink, laugh and sing (just like us), and it’s all good fun.
And finally, the most Burgundian thing I can think of, the “Ban Bourguignon” (Burgundian cheer). It’s well,… to be honest, I’m not sure what this is. Basically it’s a song with accompanying hand gestures that is meant to cheer, celebrate or loudly manifest some kind of approbation. My family does it at weddings or birthdays, or baptisms, or just when we get together. Apparently, they do it after concerts, sporting and shows in Burgundy too. To tell you the truth, I actually can’t wait to visit my family over Christmas and let out a ban bourguignon or two. Please don’t judge me. It’s just like a Burgundian Harlem Shake.