French Christmas Customs and Traditions

France – Christmas Customs and Traditions

French Christmas Customs and Traditi0ns.  Although there are some small differences in the various regions of France, the main traditions are the same and as in many countries they have their own special Christmas Cake the Buche de Noel, a rich chocolate cake baked in the shape of a yule log. The yule log was traditionally burnt in the hearth from Christmas Eve to New Year to ensure a good harvest and good luck in the coming year. Although the Christmas tree is not quite as popular in France as in other countries, French homes are still decorated and the pride of place is taken by the Nativity Scene -crèche- revolving around the crib, to which figures are added during the lead up to Christmas. Many of these figures are very ornate and are sold in Christmas shops and markets around France. On Christmas Eve after Midnight mass there is a great family meal called Le Reveillon. This late  meal will  vary with the regions of France, but will all be very lavish. On Christmas  Eve French children will leave their shoes out in the hope of having them filled by Pere Noel by the time they wake up on Christmas morning, he will also have been busy decorating the tree with sweets, fruits, nuts and little gifts during the night. La fête de Saint Nicolas on the  6th December heralds the start of the Christmas season for children in Northern France, while in Lyons La  Fête de lumières (The festival of lights.) on the 8th December has candles burning to honour Our Lady in every window. France is, of course, famous for its food and it does not disappoint us at Christmas time, with a huge array of candied fruits, biscuits, cakes and breads. Meats and regional dishes vary around the country and are all showcased for the festive season

Joyeux Noël!


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