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The Grand Spectacle of Sainte Dévote: A Royal Affair with a 2024 Pyrotechnic Surprise

As the Principality of Monaco embraced the timeless tradition of honouring its patron saint, Sainte Dévote, the grand spectacle unfolded in a dazzling display of reverence, tradition, and royal presence.

The meticulous plan for the event set the stage for a celebration deeply rooted in history. Commencing with a traditional mass in the Monegasque language and a symbolic blessing of the sea, the day’s festivities promised a journey through Monaco’s cherished traditions. The relics of Saint Dévote, revered since 1874, embarked on a procession from the Grand Prix chicane, culminating in a solemn Salute of the Blessed Sacrament at the church dedicated to the patron saint.

The celebration’s initial proceedings were broadcast on a giant screen, allowing the public to gather on the square’s forecourt, enhancing the inclusivity of the event. The boat, central to the ritual, was to be set ablaze by the princely family, a poignant moment eagerly anticipated by all.

Saint Devota Celebrations
The Archbishop of Monaco chairing the blessing ceremony to Monaco and its citizens.© Maurizio Abbati
Saint Devota celebration
© Michael Alesi / Direction de la Communication
Saint Devota Celebrations
Holy relics of Saint Devota entering Monaco Cathedral for the solemn Mass.© Michael Alesi / Direction de la Communication


A Pyrotechnic Surprise 

The evening crescendoed into a pyro melodic fireworks display, uniquely narrating the life of Sainte Dévote through Corsican polyphonic songs and music. An innovative touch marked the finale, as pyrotechnic letters elegantly spelled out ‘STE DEVOTE’ along the dyke, adding a visual flourish to the traditional affair.

The Royal Presence

As night descended upon the Hercule Port and Sainte Dévote, the luminaries of Monaco, including the princely family, Prince Albert and Princess Charlene graced the event. 

Hereditary Prince Jacques and Princess Gabriella, embodying the legacy of their lineage, took centre stage in the symbolic act of igniting the boat, a role deeply embedded in the customs of the Principality.

The presence of representatives from Monaco’s twinned cities, Ostend, Lucciana, and Dolceacqua, underscored the international significance of the celebration. Notably, the Ostend delegation marked the 60th anniversary of their twinning agreement, adding an extra layer of camaraderie to the occasion.

Saint Devota Celebrations
The iconic burning of the red-and-white symbolic boat in the presence of the Princely Family and the Archbishop of Monaco (Saint Devota’s Chapel, 26th January 2020).
Saint Devota Celebrations
The Princely Family setting fire to the red-and-white symbolic boat in the presence of the Archbishop of Monaco (Saint Devota’s Chapel, 26th January).

The Majestic Culmination

As Sainte Dévote’s Day dawned, the solemnity continued with a pontifical mass and a relic procession on the Rock, affirming the intertwining of tradition and spirituality. The evening was reserved for a captivating candlelit concert by “Tenebrae Choir” and the children’s choir of the Rainier III Academy, promising a melodic and enchanting conclusion to the commemoration.

In the backdrop of the Principality’s ancient streets and the shimmering waters of the Hercule Port, the grand spectacle of Sainte Dévote unfolded, blending tradition, spirituality, and regality into an unforgettable experience for all who bore witness to this annual celebration.

Bishop Bernard Barsi
Santa Devota Festival
Saint Devota’s Chapel and the traditional Symbolic Boat (Port Hercules, Saturday 26th January 2019).© Maurizio Abbati
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