Friday is Neighbors Day. Usually, you meet them at the mailbox, in the elevator… This time, you are encouraged to deepen relationships and share a meal.
“The Neighbors Day aims to encourage the inhabitants of the same place, at least once a year, to share a meal or a buffet with their neighbours. It is an opportunity to reconnect with the values of solidarity, fraternity and conviviality which must be at the forefront of neighborly relations”, explains Atanase Périfan, initiator of the first festival, in 1999.
In practice, it suffices to meet
ir, between inhabitants of a housing estate, a residence or even a street, to install tables and chairs and taste the dishes prepared by the participants.
Is Neighbors Day booming?
In France, twice as many meetings were recorded, in 2022, compared to the editions organized before the Covid, according to Atanase Périfan, initiator of the neighbors’ party. In Eure-et-Loir, 687 parties are scheduled for this Friday. There were 428 in 2019, which represents an increase of one third. According to the founder of the event, “there is a fair distribution of gatherings, there are no hollows, no sectors without neighbors’ parties”.
The increase in festivals seems more noticeable in rural areas. “The mayors have the desire to revitalize the villages to revive local life, but also volunteering in the localities damaged by the restrictions”, analyzes Atanase Périfan.
The neighbours’ party is organized in the districts, streets or buildings of the whole agglomeration
Jean-Paul Rafat, deputy mayor of Mainvilliers in charge of citizenship, relaunched the neighbours’ day, in 2021, on a staggered date. It had taken place in the town in September and only eight places had celebrated it. “The other years, a dozen gatherings were organized,” recalls the elected official. Ten days before the party, this year, the town hall listed fifteen registrations for nearly 500 expected participants.
In Châteauneuf-en-Thymerais, Prescillia Mazoux organizes its first neighbors party. “I had heard of it, but until now I had no neighbors to meet,” says the young woman.
Jean-Louis Benarab, president of the citizen council of Clos, in Chartres, pulled on the market, last Wednesday, to announce the event. “It worked well, people were very receptive. We think we are seeing more people than usual, ”he anticipates.
From 428 parties in 2019 to 687 this year, in Eure-et-Loir
Corinne Mesnil, director of the HLM Nogent Perche habitat office, in Nogent-le-Rotrou, could have been forced to cancel the neighbors’ party, because the person responsible is absent on this date. But after two years of no conviviality time, it was out of the question: “People don’t necessarily expect it, but they go. »
In Chartres, gatherings between neighbors are less visible, but also on the increase. 26 promotional kits for organizers were distributed in 2018, 35 in 2019 and 220 this year.
Why such a success ?
Claire Sevin, new Chartraine, spent confinement with her parents, in Béville-le-Comte. She experienced an atmosphere between neighbors there that she would like to find in town: “We passed cakes between the hedges, there was a rapprochement between everyone on this occasion that I would like to know at home. »
Éric Roynel, municipal councilor in charge of events in Épernon, organizes the Neighbors Day in the Garenne district. He too has noticed a change in behavior between neighbors since the coronavirus. “The healthy brought their medicines, their groceries to the sick. We have organized ourselves so that no one is left out,” says Éric Roynel.Neighbors’ festivals in Garnay
Another common desire, and not necessarily linked to the events of the past two years, is to know your neighbours. Laura, 31, has recently arrived in Champhol. He is looking forward to getting to know the local residents: “I would like to organize a Neighbors Day because we meet while parking our car, we say hello, but it doesn’t go much further, it’s a shame. »
Claire Sevin has integrated a residence, not far from Chartres Cathedral, and she too would like to see her neighbors around an aperitif, not on the landing. “The neighbors are the people closest to us geographically, if we need a repair… So, it’s better to maintain good relations with them, by knowing them”, smiles Claire Sevin.
Two octogenarians fed by their neighbors during confinement, in Chartres
In Mainvilliers, residents are fond of the Neighbors Day according to Jean-Paul Rafat. “It may be because of the spirit that reigns in the town, people get along well, they like to share a festive moment which relaxes the atmosphere. “These meals would have another virtue according to the elected official, that of resolving small neighborhood conflicts: “Disputes over nothing at all are resolved over a drink. »
In the Prescillia Mazoux subdivision, in Châteauneuf-en-Thymerais, six out of twenty houses have, for the moment, agreed to participate in the Neighbors Day. Many are already close, but “it allows us to widen the circle of friends. Each family has invited another, so we will meet new people.Riom Neighbors Day 2019
According to Jean-Louis Benarab, the party, in the district of Clos in Chartres, allows people to discover themselves, far from clichés. “The inhabitants assume the existence of a cleavage between the old and the new arrivals, but this is false”, he underlines.
For Éric Roynel, the Neighbours’ Day is a way of integrating newcomers, more particularly former Parisians who have settled since confinement: “It’s an opportunity to kindly tell them to park correctly, not to doing work without permission or giving up old habits. »
Happy memories of neighbor parties.
Corinne Mesnil, from the HLM office in Nogent Perche Habitat, saw large tables on rue Henri-Dourdoigne and Gabriel-Hayes: “The inhabitants had taken the organization head on, we felt their desire, their good humor . »
Claire Sevin spent her childhood in Béville-le-Comte. She lived there for neighbours’ parties, of which she has fond memories: “I was 10 years old, I played with the children from the housing estate, everyone knew each other, it was very pleasant. »
A delicate organization.
“In 2020, in the middle of Covid, we celebrated it each on their balcony, and in 2021, masked”, details Atanase Périfan. This year, no restrictions should disturb the festivities, but you still have to ask for permission from the town hall to occupy the roadway, “even if it’s in a cul-de-sac like in Châteauneuf-en-Thymerais”.
Prescillia Mazoux has invited her neighbors on social networks and everyone will cook and bring a savory or sweet dish, a drink and a share of the aperitif.
Guillaume Bonnet says it bluntly, in Chartres, “we have reached the end of the equipment (tables and chairs) that we could lend to the inhabitants”