[Christine O’Keeffe’s Christmas Customs Page]
Xmas - History - Legends - St. Nick - 12th Night - Carols - Games - Rings - E-Cards

La Veille de Noël (Christmas Eve)

Il y a bien longtemps... les Celtes fêtaient le solstice d’hiver (fête de Yule). C’était si important pour eux, qu’à cette occasion ils faisaient brûler une bûche en symbole du soleil renaissant. En quelque sorte, c’était une façon pour eux de l’encourager et de lui redonner de l’énergie. &#ndash; Pourquoi une bûche à Noël?

La Fête de lumières (Festival of Lights)
December 8 in Lyon where Lyonnais pay homage to the Virgin Mary by putting candles in their windows. This is also done on Christmas Eve. Mistletoe is hung above the door during the Christmas season to bring good fortune throughout the year.

Le mot «La guignolée» résulte de la déformation de l’expression “Au gui! L’an neuf” : formule que druides et prêtres utilisaient pour donner le départ, en décembre de chaque année, à la cueillette des feuilles de gui auxquelles la croyance gauloise attribuait des vertus thérapeutiques. – Noël à Buteau

Christmas Dayle jour de Noël
Christmas cardune carte de Noël
Christmas carolun noël, un chant de Noël
Christmas loafle pain calendeau
Christmas partyla fête de Noël
Christmas presentun petit Noël, un cadeau
white ChristmasNoël sous la neige
Christmas treele sapin or l’arbre de Noël
game, candleun jeu, une chandelle
Merry Christmas!Joyeux Noël!
Midnight: Angels’ Massla Messe de Minuit
Dawn Mass: St Anastasiala Messe de l’Aurore
Christmas Day Massla Messe du Jour
mistletoe, ribbonle gui, un ruban
stuffed animal, toyune peluche, un jouet
white puddingle boudin blanc

The Christmas tree was introduced in the French city of Strasbourg in 1605 decorated with paper roses, apples, and sugar. It is decorated a few days before christmas with tinsel, candles, lights, and many colored stars. La crèche, or miniature nativity scene is made with small clay santons: saints set against a background of moss, stones and small branches. Tricolored candles, symbols of the Trinity, light the scene. Young children go to bed early and put their shoes or sabots: wooden shoes by the fire for Père Noël: Saint Nicholas to fill with gifts. The christmas tree is decorated with lollipops, toys, and fruits while they sleep. Midnight Mass is held. At Les Baux it is called Fête des Bergers, Festival of the Shepherds. Shepherds and shepherdesses dressed in regional costume and singing carols to the flute carry burning candles and fruit. A wagon decorated with flowers, lighted candles and bells carries a lamb to the officiating priest. Later shepherds and shepherdesses take communion. Les Mystères de la Nativité: Passion Plays and la guignolée: puppet shows are popular. Dances are the gavotte, minuet, and la Carolle.

Foods: In Brittany, the dead come back to their old houses to take their place at the réveillon for the time it takes the 12 strokes of midnight to sound. The réveillon is the feast served after midnight mass. Une bûche de Noël: yule log cake (pron. byoosh duh no-ehl) is made in a jelly roll pan; usually with layers of chocolate and mocha filling decorated with marzipan. It is one of the thirteen sacred desserts. The others are: black nougat, white nougat, la fougasse: flat pastry, quatre mendiants: four beggars biscuits (d’amandes pelées: almonds [Carmelites], des figues: figs [Franciscans], de raisins [Dominicans] et de noix: walnuts [Augustinians] croyante: practicing Catholic), crystalized dates, apples, oranges, pears, confiture de coings: quince fruit jelly. Other dishes are: oysters, pâté de foie gras: goose, smoked salmon, scallops, poularde: chicken, snowballs: melted chocolate mixed with crème de marrons: chestnut purée and chantilly: whipped cream, crêpes: pancakes, white wine, roasted chestnuts, hazelnuts.

In Provence Des 7 douleurs de la Vierge Marie: 7 Sorrows of the Virgin Mary are served, consisting of a plate each of: le chou fleur: cauliflower, le cardon, le céleri: celery, artichaut servis soit à l’huile d’olive préssée soit en sauce blanche accompagnés d’une anchoïade: artichokes in olive oil with white sauce and morue: cod. After supper the grandfather or oldest member of the household, pours wine on the Yule Log. In the Périgord it is burned from Christmas Eve to le Jour de l’An: New Year’s Day. (6, 11)

Next Page: Works Cited - Previous Page - Table of Contents

Christine O’Keeffe’s Halloween Home Page
cokeeffe at geocities.com
© Copyright 1999. Christine O’Keeffe Ver. 1.1. Thursday, December 18, 2003