Tribute of the Three Cows

Tribute of the Three Cows

July 13
This unusual event takes place on the Pierre St. Martin, located in the PyrenÉes Mountains between Spain and France, on July 13 every year. Representatives of the French Pyrenean valley of BarÉtous and those of the Spanish Pyrenean valley of Roncal meet at the summit at 10 o'clock in the morning and pile their hands on top of each other's in a show of friendship. Then the French hand over three cows, which must be healthy two-year-olds. The Spaniards prepare a banquet afterward, which is cooked over fires made from wood that is hauled up the mountain by mules.
This tribute was imposed by treaty in 1375, when the two valleys were at war with each other, and the Roncal cowmen emerged as the victors. Such local treaties were often made without the consent of the national governments, and a number of them are still adhered to. But the annual Tribute of the Three Cows is by far the most unusual and picturesque.
CONTACTS:
French Government Tourist Office
444 Madison Ave., Fl. 16
New York, NY 10022
800-391-4909 or 212-838-7800; fax: 212-838-7855
www.francetourism.com
Tourist Office of Spain
666 Fifth Ave., Fl. 35
New York, NY 10103
212-265-8822; fax: 212-265-8864
www.okspain.org
SOURCES:
SpanFiestas-1968, p. 137