The muleteers of Tende and Limone lived from their assistance to the passage of goods and travelers by the Col de Tende, especially in the winter due to the snow. They were organized in corporation, the brotherhood of Saint-Eloi, which had a mission of mutual aid. Each year they elected their prior in charge of the management of the property and of the fund, fed by contributions, donations and legacies. It provided long-term low interest loans, including mullet replacement.
St. Eloi was originally celebrated on December 1st. June 25 was later chosen by the muleteers of Tende to exercise their annual religious devotions and procession. The collegiate church’s altar was decorated and the mules dressed for the parade before their blessing and the solemn mass.
Since the nineteenth century, the festival has been held on a Sunday, between June 25 and July. The celebration has become more festive and its closing ball is very popular.
The gradual disappearance of muleteers did not stop the brotherhoods, nor the celebration of Saint-Eloi.
Each year, the festival attracts a large audience from outside the town.