According to Frédéric Mistral, the star is an ex-voto dedicated to Saint Mary, and put there by the knight Blacas when he came back alived from the Crusades, to pay tribute to the Virgin.
Other versions talk about love stories, the Three Kings or Chivalry... Although many versions exist about the origin of the star none have been verified. The mystery remains total on the origin and meaning of the star above Moustiers… The star we see today was made in 1957. It is the eleventh to hang above the Way of the Coss. In 1995 it was covered in gold leaves after its fall and placed back above Moustiers. The size of the star, which originally had five points, has changed over time from 30 to 1.80 cm. Today it mesures 1.25cm, the chain is 135 m long and it weighs 150kg all together.
© Valentin Pacaut - The Explorers - En partenariat avec la Région Sud Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur et Atout France
The legend of the Knight of Blacas
The legend of Blacas’ Knight tells us about a member of the Blacas family (from Aups) who did the Crusades during the 12th century. He became a prisoner of the Saracens. During his imprisonment the Caliph tried to convert the Knight to Islam. Despite his efforts, the Knight didn't and the Caliph freed him. Back in Moustiers-Sainte-Marie, the Blacas Knight would place a star above Notre Dame Chapel to thank the Virgin Mary for having made it out alive. This legend was made official in 1885 by Frédéric Mistral, founder of the Félibrige movment (for restauration and preservation of the Provençale traditions.)
There are other explanations for this star. One tells us about 2 lovers whom families where enemies. They were forbidden to love each other and committed suicide. The star would have been a sign of reconciliation between the 2 families after this tragedy.
More explanations were given. One seems more probable : the star would have been placed above the village by the villagers themselves, to keep the protection of the Virgin Mary on them and their village.
More mistery ?
Inside our Church is a painting from the 15th century. Named « Souls of Purgatory » it teaches us good deeds for a better place in Paradise. What we see in this painting is :
Heaven, Earth and Hell. The Earth part paints a village : it is Moustiers-Sainte-Marie, recognizable by its 2 cliffs. But if we look between the 2 : there’s no star ! Was there no star when the painting was made or did it fall ? indeed, the first appearance of the star in the texts dates back to the 15th century. No one knows when it was placed for the first time.
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The dawn mass
On the 8th of September, day of the Virgin's Nativity, the Dawn Mass (5 am) brings all of Moustiers and the surrounding villages together to walk up the hill to the sanctuary, in procession lead by the Diane (Moustiers’ musical group). It finishes with a traditional local breakfast served on the church square at 6 am.