Tag Archives: French Christmas traditions

Les treize desserts

I love dessert. I’m fully in agreement with the slogan, “Life is uncertain. Eat dessert first.” So once again, I think the French have got things just right with les treize desserts (lay trez daysehr), or the thirteen desserts. This … Continue reading

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Petit papa Noël

I have been writing about French Christmas carols. So far, I’ve been focusing on traditional, religious carols, many centuries old. But French Christmas music includes several of the Santa-snowman-elves variety too. One of the sweetest ones is “Petit Papa Noël.” … Continue reading

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Un flambeau, Jeannette, Isabelle

Today I’m doing another installment on my series about French Christmas carols with “Un flambeau, Jeannette, Isabelle,” a traditional sixteenth century Provençal favorite. To In English, it appeared on the scene in the 18th century as “Bring a torch, Jeanette, … Continue reading

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Quelle est cette odeur agréable

Lately, I’ve been presenting some traditional French carols. Today’s Christmas carol, Quelle est cette odeur agréable (kel eh set odur a-gray-a-bluh), dates to the 17th century. It has been translated in English as Whence is that goodly fragrance flowing? I’d … Continue reading

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Fête des Lumières

Lyon’s Fête des Lumières (fet day loom-e-air), or Festival of Lights, is an annual event that takes place in early December. For 2012, the dates are December 6 through 9. It’s not a Christmas event at all, but the proximity … Continue reading

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Today’s French carol, Patapan, was written by Bernard de La Monnoye in 1720. It wasn’t originally written in French at all, but rather in the Burgundian dialect, which bears only a passing relationship to the language of Molière. It’s kind … Continue reading

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Noël nouvelet

I’d never before heard the Christmas Carol Noël nouvelet before I started researching this post. I don’t think I’ll soon forget its haunting melody, however.  Nouvelet doesn’t exist anymore, but it’s related to the word nouvel, the form of the … Continue reading

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Crèche de Noël

In many parts of France, the crèche de Noël is more important than the Christmas tree. I grew up with a crèche, not because my family is French, but because they appreciated the religious emphasis. We had the standard crew … Continue reading

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Le réveillon de Noël

In a country known for the magnificence of its cuisine, two meals surpass all others: le réveillon de Noël (luh ray-vay-ohn duh noell) (Christmas Eve dinner) and le réveillon de Saint-Sylvestre (New Year’s Eve dinner).  Families used to attend Midnight … Continue reading

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