Papegai or Papegault (from the Old French that identifies a type of parrot) also called pole shooting, is a shooting sport that can be practiced with bows, buses, or even guns. The object of the game is to knock artificial birds from their nests. This entertainment is very popular in Denmark; The Scottish variant is also known but also in Belgium and sometimes in the UK. In Germany, the traditional shooting of wooden birds placed on a high pole is called “Vogelschießen” (meaning “bird shooting”). In Manitoba, Canada, this sport is called pole archery.
In France, in the Middle Ages, it was customary every year, when spring came, to play bird archery. A false bird placed on top of a mast, a large tree, or even a tower serves as a target. It was organized by groups specialized in marksmanship (archers, archers, crossbowmen) allowing selected players to shoot at a target in an attempt to bring it down. Whoever won the honor of winning this event was called “Roy or Emperor” and was presented with a cup engraved with his name. Furthermore, he can represent his brothers in the games organized in the following year. Charles IX even granted a “tax break” and reset his dates to the one who would bring down Papegault in 1573!
Traces of this competition can be found in the fifteenth century in the majority of French regions (provinces). In the eighteenth century, the practice tended to disappear and then came back to strength in the twentieth century motivated by associations (Auvergne, Picardy, Breton, etc.) wanting to revive ancient archery practices. Papjay festivities are currently booming all over France. that of Boy-on-Fly It is undoubtedly one of the most famous. Named Fête du Roi de l’Oiseau, it has been held every year in the third week of September since 1986 and gathers over 100,000 people celebrating the Renaissance.
Image credit: by VlaS – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=12753819
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