Blason populaire

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Blason populaire is an umbrella genre in the field of folkloristics used to designate any item of any genre which makes use of stereotypes, usually, but not always, negative stereotypes, of a particular group.[1]

In blasons populaires nations are homogeneous and have national characteristics.

Items such as ethnic jokes or blonde jokes are very common examples of blason populaire.


Blasons populaires in Wallonia and Luxembourg [2]

In Wallonia (Belgium) and Luxembourg, the concept of "blason populaire" refers to a demonym-like nickname of the inhabitants of a village or a city.

Blasons populaire come from the traditional languages (Walloon, Luxembourgish). They are never translated in French, as opposed to the demonyms which exist in French and in Walloon, often in two different constructions.

Some, which have lost their pejorative meaning, are now used to name restaurants, theater groups, communal houses, etc. They are also used in pseudonyms of writers in Walloon.

Blasons populaires in Picardie and Nord-Pas-de-Calais

The inhabitants of all villages or cities in these regions have a blason populaire (in picard language: surpitchet).[3]

For example, for the town of Amiens the blason is : The eaters of walnuts (in picard: Chés Maqueus d'gueugues d'Anmien). In 1597, the Spanish soldiers mounted a surprise attack. They were disguised as peasants and put walnuts at the doors of the town. The inhabitants were famished and opened the doors, following which the Spanish soldiers entered the city; with deadly consequences for the inhabitants.


  1. ^ Carl Lindahl, John McNamara, John Lindow, eds. Medieval Folklore: A Guide to Myths, Legends, Tales, Beliefs, and Customs. Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press, 2002.
  2. ^
  3. ^ (in French): André Accart, Les sobriquets des habitants du Pas-de-Calais , 456 pages , ( 2006 ) ISBN 2-915800-05-7

Further reading

External links