Chanukah is over and it's almost Christmas, le Noêl in France. Here's a quick glance at some unusual ways the holiday
is celebrated in the land of the Gauls. Some I knew about, others not and maybe you do - anyway hope you enjoy.
Coquilles de Noel
Since the 16th century, people of the Nord Pas-de-Calais region have been testing their arteries with a type of brioche, or sweet bun, filled with butter, sugar, and raisins.
Bakers in the north churn out these pastries, made in the shape of coquilles or shells, every December. According to France 3, a document from 1579 states that the sweets were thrown to the people from the top of the belfry tower.
Les Santons of the South
Nativity scenes are popular throughout France, but the people of Provence put their own unique spin on them with small, clay figurines called santons, or "little saints".
These figures, traditionally handmade at home as a family, can be vegetable sellers, bakers, men selling chestnuts, local dignitaries, or other personalities from daily village life. These nativity scenes are supposed to be representative of the ideal Provencal village. Marseille holds an annual Santon Fair at the end of November to kick off the holiday season.
13 desserts in Provence
One dessert is not nearly enough if you’re celebrating Christmas in Provence. It’s tradition to have thirteen dessert options after the Christmas meal, to be shared by everyone, symbolizing the sharing of Christ. These desserts traditionally include pastries, candied fruit, dried fruit, and nougat.
Floating carol singers in Colmar
In the Little Venice of Colmar in northeastern France, children decked out in red Santa hats sing Christmas carols on boats along the canal. They make four stops throughout the city centre, performing four or five songs each time to the audience gathered on the quays.
“Many of them only join the choir for this event,” their director, Evelyne Fleck, told Source d’Initiatives Magazine. “What they really love is singing all huddled together on the boats, in the cold at night in front of large crowds."
Wishing you and your loved ones Joy in the holidays,
Cara - Tuesday