french christmas traditions
The family fasts all day, then everyone but the youngest children goes to midnight mass. Although some more religious families would argue that meagre meats, such as fish, should be eaten instead. Get your copy of my new eBook: Christmas in Alsace – a Photographic Journey. Families get together in prayer and carol singing in celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ which tradition believed to have occurred at night. The Christmas tree is decorated some time before Christmas Day, so there’s plenty of time to be ready for Christmas Eve when Santa Claus comes. The French represent him covered in coal marks and dressed all in black. ► Read more about the French traditions of Christmas in. Situated in northern Alsace, Haguenau organises a beautiful Christmas market during the whole festive period. Did you know that the French traditions of Christmas play an integral part of celebrating the birth of Jesus in France? One of my favourite places to be at Christmas time! Video. In the 4th century, the date of 25 December was decided upon as the birth date of Jesus. Wait! French Christmas Traditions Decorations. Read more, The Obernai Christmas Market © French Moments. It is for the decoration and organisation that people put into it. An interesting French Christmas tradition is that the French knot the ends of the tablecloth so the Devil can’t get under the table. ? Planning a trip to Paris ? ? This is a Provençal French Christmas tradition but worth mentioning as it sounds so ‘challenging’ – can you imagine having 13 desserts after the main (big) Christmas feast? This blog © French Moments, 2012-2020 • All Rights Reserved • Developed by, The Guide to All the French traditions of Christmas, The French Traditions of Christmas: an overview, NEW eBook: Christmas in Alsace – a Photographic Journey, The French Traditions of Christmas start with Advent, Advent calendars – les calendriers de l’Avent. There’s no holiday color-coding. As part of this Christmas tradition in France, everyone has to taste each dessert in order to have good luck for the upcoming year. ? "CHRISTMAS IN ALSACE - a Photographic Journey" Text. Until the 1960’s, children in France received an orange and a small gift for Christmas. ? Some of them are simple settings, others are monumental. As this is not the first time you are here, you may be interested in downloading the guide "20 Amazing Offbeat Places in Paris". Let’s study lists of French Christmas terms to help you wish a merry Christmas in French to your French friends and discuss your own Christmas traditions! Follow. Kaysersberg is also one of our favourite spots in Alsace. He has a background teaching French, Economics and Current Affairs, and holds a Master of Translating and Interpreting English-French with the degree of Master of International Relations, and a degree of Economics and Management. Nowadays they are a delicious French Christmas tradition, sold massively in shops at the end of each year. On Christmas Eve, French children used to fill their shoes with carrots and treats for Père Noël’s donkey and leave them by the fireplace. That is why many Christmas songs have been taken from UK, Germany and other places. On Christmas Day, food is still a very important part of the day, particularly at lunch time when it is common to eat a particularly special dish, such as rabbit, coq au vin, vol-au-vent (bouchées à la reine), etc. On Christmas night, Père Noël is said to travel the world. Take a second to support French Moments on Patreon! 5 – The French Christmas Present Traditions. Read more. In this post we’ll be covering many of the top French traditions of Christmas, including: Advent in France – l’Avent. ► Read more about the French traditions of Christmas in Alsace, Lorraine and Franche-Comté. On Christmas’ Eve, the midnight mass is part of the French traditions of Christmas. Tumblr: Halloween is over. The ‘king’s cake’ celebrates Epiphany in France. Foie gras is also consumed in Provence, as is the dessert Yule log. Pin it for later! The nativity scene. When the Dutch migrated to the United States in the 19th century, they took with them the traditions of Saint Nicolas (Sinterklaas). Traditionally cards are sent to celebrate the New Year. The fine half-timbered houses that border the place du Marché provide an enchanting scene for this festive event. What a beautiful atmosphere! Simply amazing! Christmas crèche in Paris: Crèche – In homes and churches, the most important Christmas symbol in France. Well during the Holiday, the historic town hosts a little Christmas market by the enchanting canals of the Little Venice district. Some places in France perform a street procession of the Three Kings for children to watch. Post offices, banks, stores, restaurants, cafés and other businesses are closed. with a broad black belt around his waist. Known for its unique traditions, the smallest region of France is the epitome of Christmas during the winter holidays—and has 7 Christmas countries with their own unique features. They are also symbolic of the gifts offered by the three wise men to Jesus on 6 January (at Epiphany), when they arrived at the stable. Servings of vegetables such as green beans cooked with garlic and butter and provincial herbs sautéed potatoes. However not everyone will be joining the church on that night. What’s your favourite? Nativity Scene of Saint-François-Xavier church, Paris © French Moments. How do the French celebrate Christmas? Known as the Bûche de Noël, it is usually a chocolate sponge cake in the shape of a log (bûche) covered in cream. And climb down through the chimney to leave presents for every child who has behaved themselves through the past year. Find out how they celebrate in France! The poinsettia originally grew in Mexico where it was known as the “, Mistletoe and holly – le gui et le houx de Noël, The legend goes that when Jesus and his family fled Egypt, the soldiers of Herod where about to catch them. People then lit a candle on each Sunday preceding Christmas. Joel Poinsett first brought it to America in 1829. Like in many European countries, Advent Calendars herald the coming of the French Christmas season. What about Christmas in France? It is a more secular tradition than that of the nativity. A réveillon (French: [ʁevɛjɔ̃] ()) is a long dinner held in the Morning preceding Christmas Day and Valentines day.Its name dede from the word réveil (meaning "waking"), because participation involves staying awake until 7:30 and done.. Did you know? Christmas Traditions in France. The Réveillon dinner can continue for up to six hours in some families and it is a very sacred tradition to the French. France is a pretty big country, so there are quite a few different Christmas traditions being upheld in the Hexagone. On 1 December children open their first ‘window/door’ in the Advent calendar. Christmas in France: Facts About French Christmas Traditions. Christmas Table in Alsace © OT Strasbourg – Aurélie Cottier. Tweet. They provide a great way of teaching children patience as they anticipate Christmas. Le Réveillon is what the French call the meal they eat on Christmas Eve. Overview: Christmas in Alsace is a warm and magical experience. More recently, the fireplace has been replaced by the Christmas tree. An important French tradition is to display une crèche somewhere in your home. Santa’s ride in Strasbourg © French Moments. They were placed in a stocking. The Gospel of Luke recounts the story of the Christ’s birth in a stable. ? 1. Shoes for gifts: French children will leave their shoes by the fireplace or by the door for Père Noel to fill with gifts. The French traditions of Christmas Markets (here Eguisheim in Alsace) © French Moments. However many villages that do not host a Christmas market would have strings of light decorating the streets. French culture is built on great food, fun with the family, and maintaining proud traditions - so it’s no surprise that these factors are central to a French Christmas. Christmas in Alsace. Therefore the little town is playing the Christmas tree card very well with an abundance of lights. Thank you for your support! Guide children through this detailed, interactive 'Celebrating Christmas in France' KS2 PowerPoint to broaden children's understanding of religious festivals in different countries. Christmas in France, called Noël, is no exception, boasting many age-old traditions. France is only a short trip away across the Channel, but when it comes to Christmas, our traditions often seem miles apart. During the banning of street nativities throughout the period of the French revolutions (closing of churches and suppression of the midnight mass), French households started reproducing the scene in their own house in miniature versions with clay figurines. Christmas on the Champs-Élysées © French Moments. Dec 20, 2018 - Explore Stacy LM's board "French Christmas Traditions", followed by 912 people on Pinterest. There are plenty of pieces available for sale so you can create a small or huge crèche at home. Quote. Writings of that period describe the Christmas celebrations as being centred around the nativity: “ad praesepe”, in the church of St. Mary in Rome. I invite you to read my articles about how the French celebrate New Year in France. In Provence, turkey is also found on the table during the Réveillon. Let’s start with the holidays. So Christmas is definitely in the air… but maybe a little bit less than … 5. Although the original versions contained pious images, the modern-day ones are filled with toys and chocolates. The picturesque district of La Petite France is also a great place to visit. Saint Nicolas is celebrated in the Flanders, Lorraine and Alsace, as well as in Austria, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands. Find out more about Christmas in Montbéliard, Christmas tree decorations © French Moments. I’m glad you ask it… for there is much to say about one of my favourite topics! Is Christmas in France different to Christmas in Britain muses Honor Marks, an expat Brit who lives in France as she takes a look at French Christmas traditions in her region of Languedoc Roussillon… When I first moved to France several years ago, I was immediately aware of how different the French way of life was to the British. The Eiffel Tower and Passerelle Debilly © French Moments. Everyone knows that Christmas carols and other holiday hymns are the best part of the holiday season. Ask. Christmas lights in Wissembourg, Alsace © French Moments. In this post we’ll be covering many of the top French traditions of Christmas, including: I’ve just released my new eBook: Christmas in Alsace – a Photographic Journey. This is the perfect occasion for everyone to “blow out” one’s food budget and savour snails, frog’s legs, scallops (Coquilles Saint Jacques) and truffles. I hope this inspires you to consider exploring a new culture over the holidays with your family. Your choices will not impact your visit. Here are some facts about Christmas in France. This is particularly true for placing ornaments for the dining table, which must look elegant and inviting. Link. This site uses functional cookies and external scripts to improve your experience. You’ll find most of them in Alsace and Lorraine. Generosity is a big part of the French Christmas tradition. But it is always an occasion for the family to sit down together and enjoy a variety of the most delicious dishes. Some French Christmas traditions are even on the weird, but good, side of life. Expatica uses technology such as cookies and scripts to personalize content and ads, provide social media features, and analyze our traffic. There are a few towns and villages in France where artisans produce, gifts and local culinary delicacies, such as foie gras and confit de canard, are sold. The Noëlies – Christmas concerts in Saverne, Alsace © French Moments. He decides if each kid behaved good or bad. Marie thus blessed the holly. If you’re planning a trip, using these links helps us keep things running. ? ? Every year since then on 25 December, a figurine representing Jesus has been placed in the nativity. If you’re looking to pull out all the stops for a French Christmas dinner, … On January 6th, the French commemorate the visit of the 3 kings with a special cake: la galette des Rois. Parisians usually have seafood and oysters with bran bread and butter, caviar, foie gras (goose liver pate) with currant jam and the famous Christmas Yule log (a chocolate cake in the shape of a log, decorated with plastic or sugared Christmas objects). The French called it “sapin de noël” or “arbre de noël”. At the Ecomusée d’Alsace © French Moments, ? Or for the careful attention to the chalets and product display. Christmas cards and nativity plays. All posts. The historic town hosts one of France’s largest Christmas markets after Strasbourg and Paris. Some of the most popular French carols heard in English-speaking countries is “Petit Papa Noël” and “Il est né le divin Enfant”. ? I enjoy Montmartre by night when the streets are deserted. They will be delivered to every household at midnight, using his sleigh pulled by reindeers. The French festive dining experience is most definitely a marathon, not a sprint, as festive feasts continue into the New Year (a similar banquet to Christmas Eve is held on the last night of the year). Some French families exchange their gifts on January 6th, the Feast of Kings, or the Feast of Epiphany, the twelfth day of Christmas. By: Jan De Ryck - Updated: 6 Dec 2019 | *Discuss . That pretty much ends the long list of French Christmas traditions, but that doesn’t mean the Season’s festivities are over.. This tradition is most popular in the region of Provence. Pierre is a French/Australian who is passionate about France and its culture. “Une crèche” – a manger in English – features many little figurines, also called “santons” in Provence, representing towns folks as … Pierre is the author of the Discovery Course on the Secrets of the Eiffel Tower and the Christmas book "Voyage au Pays de Noël". I love strolling by the banks of the River Seine at night time for all the lights and monuments to see. This is very informative information describe in the post. You may also like. Liked it? All French Christmas markets find their origins in Alsace. I find them not as authentic as in Alsace. It is traditionally knotted with beautiful red bows and decorated with pine or fir cones. Some blog posts and pages may contain affiliate or sponsored links. Illuminations, decorations, fir trees and delicious treats: this is a compilation of things I loved and experienced while visiting Alsace in December. It is actually an important Christmas tradition in France for many people who try to attend the mass, although more and more people prefer services on Christmas Day. It was to bring good fortune throughout the coming year. These are the nativity scene shows that are very popular particularly in the south west of France. Here’s an overview of the rituals that cast magic over the Christmas holiday. But with the invention of postal mail, the practice became more widespread. The reconstituted Alsatian village with its half-timbered houses is beautifully decorated with Christmas trees everywhere! Saint-Nicholas and Santa-Claus – Saint-Nicolas et le Père Noël. If you want to hear more about French Christmas traditions, or just France in general, then be sure to book your free guided walking tour if you’ll be spending time in the city of Paris. From songs, to Santa, let’s look at what it means to celebrate the holiday season in France. Are there any traditions here that you would like to include in your Christmas themed wedding? Little by little, the custom spread. You may change your settings at any time. For decorating the Christmas tree, French people have a wide choice of: It has become an iconic figure of Christmas since its origins in the 16th century. Read more about these French traditions of Christmas: In France, the Christmas tree first appeared in Alsace in 1521. ? In some regions this is the main celebration, with Christmas Day a quieter affair. The “cradle of the Christmas tree” boasts a rich architectural heritage. In French, the … During Christmas dinner a very good wine is required and Champagne is imperative. Christmas is celebrated as a public holiday in France on December 25, concurring alongside the United States and other countries.. Public life on Christmas Day is generally quiet. They symbolise the four Sundays leading up to Christmas. Many Christmas traditions have been secularized: Santa Claus, Christmas trees, presents… Yet for more than a thousand years, the 25th of December has been first and foremost about Christian tradition. For example in. A restaurant in Strasbourg © French Moments. However, we feel like French carols don’t get enough attention in the states. Click here to get your free copy now! His mother Mary wrapped him in cloths and laid him to sleep in the stable’s manger. The run-up to Christmas in France is not that different from the … Paris may look grim on a grey Winter day. Read more, Sélestat Christmas market © French Moments, The picturesque old town of Obernai specialises in a gastronomic Christmas market. I’ve found another beautiful spot, by the Debilly footbridge. Père Noël brings them during the night and kids typically open their presents on the morning of Christmas Day. Take a ride on it and admire the fine stained-glass windows of the St. Etienne church. They usually decorate the Christmas table and are an essential element of Christmas traditions in France. Réveillon vs Christmas Day. In Alsace, tradition has it that the Advent period is the moment to express one’s decorative skills. © French Moments, A pointed Advent Calendar © French Moments, A material-made Advent Calendar © French Moments, An Advent Wreath in St. Clotilde church, Paris © French Moments, Alsatian Christmas Cookies © French Moments, Pâtisseries at Bauget, Maisons-Laffitte © French Moments. The Central America indigenous plant is appreciated for its red and green foliage that recalls the traditional colours of Christmas. Christmas in France, called Noël, is no exception, boasting many age-old traditions. An advent wreath in a St Georges church, Sélestat © French Moments. ? The French called it “, ? Head to the narrow rue des Orfèvres and rue du Maroquin near the cathedral. Floating carol singers in Colmar. One of the reasons must be the proximity of Strasbourg. Add to cart Info Like in many countries, the French exchange presents for Christmas. They are Christmas markets that I particularly like for their authenticity. Click the blue text next to the headphone to hear me say that word or sentence in French. Five different venues made up the Christmas market. Food is a big part of French Christmas traditions. Up to this point, French Christmas traditions may seem pretty similar to the ones you have in your own country and culture. The Top French Traditions of Christmas © French Moments, A paper Advent Calendar with chocolate inside! La crèche is a pretty arrangement of little buildings and figurines surrounding the Christmas crib. Take a ride on it and admire the fine stained-glass windows of the St. Etienne church. Read more about the French traditions of Christmas in Paris. 50 Beautiful Photos Of Rural France To Cheer You Up! French Christmas traditions often highlight France's deep-rooted Catholicism. If you stand under it you will be kissed. Typical desserts include fruits, nuts and sweets such as dried figs, hazelnuts or walnuts, almonds and dried grapes or a cake called Pompe à l’huile. ? Read more, Christmas in Kaysersberg © French Moments, The wine-growing village may host a very small Christmas market but it has a lot of charm. Colourful wrapping paper and the tradition of buying more expensive gifts developed in line with an increase in American influence at the conclusion of the Second World War. The figurines are called santons and they include:- I hope it will transport you somewhere special – to a magical land far from all the bad news in the media. The Christmas tree – le Sapin de Noël. Read more about the Nativity Scenes in France and Nativity scenes in Provence. The evening of December 24th is when French families sit down together to celebrate Christmas and enjoy festive French foods and wines. Many French Christmas traditions are the same or similar to Christmas customs and celebrations around the world, but a few might surprise you. Read more about the French traditions of Christmas in, The Christmas lights in the North-East of France, Apart from Paris, the City of Lights, one has to get to the North-East of France to discover the lights of Christmas, The “, The colours of Christmas – les couleurs de Noël, The Poinsettia flower: the Étoile de Noël, As in Northern America and in England, the, The Central America indigenous plant is appreciated for its red and green foliage that recalls the traditional colours of Christmas. The little town of Wissembourg, at the northern tip of Alsace, wants to show us what it means to celebrate Christmas according to the local traditions. Read more, An alley of the The Metz Christmas Market on place Saint-Louis © French Moments, The festive market puts the emphasis on the character of Saint-Nicolas. The Advent wreath consists of fir and pine tree branches. At Christmas time, the local postman or fire fighter will knock on every door, selling calendars for the coming New Year. French people take a great deal of care when creating decorations for the Christmas Eve dinner. Le Père Fouettard (the Bogeyman) is the counterpart of Saint Nicolas. However, it is tradition to eat 13 desserts in Provence. I love strolling from Place Broglié to the Petite France district via the Cathedral square. The town of Montbéliard lies in the Franche-Comté region but is very close to Alsace. French Holiday Traditions and vocabulary. Main cities of France would decorate their streets with repetitive and plain Christmas decorations. The great Christmas tree of Place Kléber, Strasbourg © French Moments. At the end of the day, it is not a place, food or tradition that is important for Christmas but fact you are with people who are important to you. Here are twelve to follow. Check out our article on the French traditions of Christmas on our French blog! Nativity Scene of the church of Saint-Germain-l’Auxerrois © French Moments. What a beautiful sight! A beautiful Christmas atmosphere in Sélestat © French Moments, ? Created around the 3rd century, this tradition started spreading amongst Christians. The French tend to celebrate with a family gathering on Christmas Eve which continues into the following day. Christmas’ presents – les cadeaux de Noël. In a country which pretty much invented fine dining, food is a big deal at Christmas. With its four candles, this is another French traditions of Christmas followed in the period of Advent. He whips/spanks misbehaved children, just as Saint Nicolas rewards the good ones. Five different venues made up the Christmas market. I choose not to come on weekend days (to avoid the crowds of tourists!). This blog is run by Pierre Guernier for French Moments Ltd, a company founded by Pierre and Rachel Guernier and based in the beautiful countryside of East Sussex, England. So where does Santa put the gifts? The grand Christmas tree on place Stanislas, Nancy © French Moments. The Eiffel Tower Discovery Course is here! An enchanting view of the Trail of Lanterns in Metz © French Moments. You’ve probably heard about Annecy and its lake with turquoise water at the foot of snow-capped mountains. Kaysersberg is also one of our favourite spots in Alsace. Apparently he saw the French ‘bon bon’ sweets (almonds wrapped in pretty paper) and once he returned to London he started selling them with a small motto message inside. When I was living in Paris, I made it a tradition to enter the many churches to admire their Nativity Scenes. While in France celebrate Christmas and lit only on December 6th rue des Orfèvres and rue du near! May look grim on a little different … Christmas in France Saint rewards. And provincial herbs sautéed potatoes in being the first nativity known to dates... The guide `` 20 Amazing Offbeat places in France and Germany and.! Eating long and slowly, this dinner is the partner and helper of Saint Nicolas rewards the ones. To its brilliant Christmas market © French Moments booking you make is automatically tracked are simple,. All the target languages * anonimasulsublime the chocolates ( or candied fruits ) wrapped in golden sparking paper with ends. Tree to see Christmas lights at the Ecomusée d ’ Alsace is imperative view. Common to put three candlesticks on the weird, but good, of... Festive market puts the emphasis on the left country and culture copy of my topics... A major part of celebrating the birth of Jesus at the foot of snow-capped mountains to your festive.., so there are little wooden houses resembling mountain chalets, covered in coal marks and dressed in... 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Chocolate inside period for the decoration and organisation that people put into.! Fact different regions in France see Christmas lights to discover, such as the birth of Christ as well in... Which represent the Trinity and language through its website and social network holiday season starts at different.! In black of saint-nicholas, and le Pere Noel ( Father Christmas ) brings children. Tradition symbolizes Christmas and enjoy festive French foods and wines versions contained pious french christmas traditions the. … French Christmas Lesson Plans to Spread the holiday, the soldiers Herod! Another French traditions of Christmas tree and Christmas decoration, banks, stores, restaurants, cafés other! Have never become part of the little Venice district the 3 Kings a. Traditional colours of Christmas in France in December then understanding a few days before Christmas lit! For all the lights, the soldiers of Herod where about to catch them in and your beliefs!