As in many European countries, Christmas in France is celebrated as a big celebration where the family comes together. Although people decorate for Christmas in the run-up to Christmas, Advent calendars, as they are often used in Germany, are not common in France.
When people talk about the French Christmas tradition, they talk about the Réveillon (Christmas feast) and the sapin de No ë l (Christmas tree).
How is Christmas Eve going?
However, Christmas Eve initially begins as a normal working day, the children go to school, shops are open until 6 or 8 p.m. For the family, Christmas only begins with midnight mass in the festively decorated church, which, contrary to what its name suggests, often takes place in the early evening. Afterwards, everyone meets for the classic Christmas dinner “le réveillon”, which traditionally consists of a turkey stuffed with chestnuts or a capon stuffed with plums.
Oysters, the typical French “foie gras”, stuffed goose liver and candied chestnuts are often served with this. Fish, cheese platters and other delicacies round off the rich Christmas meal. Sparkling champagne is served as a drink.
The so-called “bûche de Noël”, the Christmas tree cake, is also particularly important. This goes back to the custom of burning a tree trunk on Christmas Eve. His ashes were scattered in the fields after the holidays, which was supposed to promise good luck and a successful harvest.
The Réveillon is usually very cheerful and can sometimes last for a few hours.
And who brings the presents?
Père Noël, as Santa Claus is called in France, brings them on the night of December 24th to 25th. The children put their shoes next to the fireplace or under the Christmas tree. Santa Claus climbs through the chimney at night to fill his shoes with presents. The presents will then take place on the morning of December 25th. Christmas also ends on this day. December 26th is no longer a public holiday in France.
Christmas in France and Germany have a lot in common, from decorating houses to mistletoe to the nativity scene. Of course, French households also have a Christmas tree, the “sapin de Noël”, which is colorfully decorated just like in Germany. What many people don't know: The tradition of the Christmas tree originated in the French Alsace and from here spread throughout Europe. Of course, there are also regional Christmas traditions. Nativity plays are often held in Provence. Christmas markets are not as widespread as here in Germany. On December 4th, branches are cut from a fruit tree and placed in a vase in the living room. If these branches bloom at Christmas, it is considered a good omen for the coming year.
With this in mind, we wish you all
Merry Christmas and Joyeux Noël !!