How Do The French Celebrate Christmas?


7 Answers

Lily Bradic Profile
Lily Bradic answered

Christmas or Noël

You’re probably already familiar with many of the ways in which the French celebrate Christmas: As is the case in most traditionally Christian countries, it is common in France to decorate a Christmas tree (sapin de Noël), and to exchange gifts; and French children also look forward to a visit from Father Christmas (Père Noël). Christmas in France is about spending time with loved ones, and for the Christian community, celebrating the birth of Jesus.

French Traditions (it’s worth noting that some of these vary from region to region!)

- Le Réveillon – a large feast with many courses that follows midnight mass (la Messe de Minuit) on Christmas Eve. In rural communities, this is often hosted by the mayor in the village hall, yet some families prefer to celebrate at home.

- La Galette des Rois – a flat, almond-flavoured cake containing a small figurine. When the cake is cut, whoever gets the charm in their slice is ‘crowned’ king or queen for the remainder of the day, and is allowed to choose a partner.

New Year’s Day, or Le jour de l’An (also known as Nouvel An)

The French tend to exchange more gifts on New Year's Day than they do on Christmas Day; on January 1st, children are given money and cone-shaped packages of sweets, and families and friends gather to celebrate together. On Christmas Day, young children traditionally leave their shoes out for Santa to fill with small gifts.

Suhail Ajmal Profile
Suhail Ajmal answered
Christmas is called "Noël" in France. Family members and friends meet each other on this day to have a festive meal. They serve a Christmas cake, also called "bûche de Noël," which looks like a yule log and Christmas tree is the central point of everyone's intentions. People decorate it with red ribbons and real white candles. Oysters and pâté de foie gras are served as a regional food in Paris. "Christ cakes" is also baked for this occasion.
Will Martin Profile
Will Martin answered
Like many other French customs, Christmas traditions show a lot of variation between one region and another. However, there are certain typical features of a French Christmas.

In many places, it starts early, on the feast of St Nicholas (6 December.) On this day ‘good’ children may receive presents, and traditionally for ‘naughty’ ones there is the threat of a visit from ‘Pere Fouettard, the scary partner of Pere Noel/Father Christmas (le fouet means ‘whip’.) Christmas proper begins on 24 December. Many people still go to church for a Midnight Mass, but even if you don’t do that, it is still usual to stay up late and have a special late supper. This has all kinds of regional variations, but seafood, salmon, goose and capon are all possibilities. One very popular French Christmas dish that has spread to other countries is the Buche de Noel or Christmas log – the famous chocolate log, in France typically with a butercream or chestnut filling.
One unique custom still found in many parts of France is the tradition that one person from the family or party is chosen to be ‘king or queen for a day’ – traditionally, a cake was passed round and whoever got a certain special token in his or her slice would be ‘crowned.’  The king or queen then chooses a consort and the two of them are officially the heads of the house for the whole day.

Christmas also continues into the New Year – the ’12 days of Christmas’ are often marked by another celebration of the Epiphany (known in France as the Feast of the Kings) on 6 January, when another special cake is eaten.
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
The French put there shoes in front of the chimney or fireplace for pere Noel - Santa Clause - to fill them with gifts.Candy, fruit and nuts are also hung on there tree over night. The tree is decorated with red ribbons and real white candle. It is a time for family and generosity. They also have a festive meal including meat and cake.
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
I am doing a country report and this helped a bunch. The french also put their shoe in front of a chimney if they want it filled with treats. The French believe their is only one god.

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