This year: Wednesday, January 25, 2017
Christmas is the main holiday of the year for all French families. There is not a singe person left half-hearted about this feast. It is especially important for children, who find their presents under the glittering decorated Christmas-trees. According to the old tradition, all kids put their shoes at the fireplace and late at night Per Noel comes and leaves his presents to the children for their good behavior.
Originally Christmas-time lasted for 12 days - from Christmas till Epiphany. Today it lasts for a whole month. Starting with Saint Nicolas's Day on December 6, it finishes only with Epiphany on January 6. This time is full of joy for both kids and adults. You can feel the air of holiday, its warmth, kindness and sincere hospitality everywhere.
The streets of all cities are brightly lit with an uncountable number of huge snowflakes made of light bulbs, here and there you see beautifully adorned Christmas-trees. They are not only in houses and apartments - they are everywhere on the streets.
Christmas dinner, or as the French say "reveillion", under the decorated Christmas-tree, sometimes even near the fireplace, is something very special in France, something about the family. The menu traditionally includes the following seven dishes: sage-and-garlic soup, spinach or codfish, green and black olives, fried fish, cauliflower, smallage in anchovy butter, snails, and of course the national delicacy "fois gras" - goose liver paste... Before the holidays there is a lot of work to do for a housewife. They fat up geese and turkeys, slaughter pigs, cook sausages.
Another special Christmas tradition in France is preparing the so-called "Christmas log". Many years ago they did it in belief that it will bring a richer harvest. Today sometimes they hide sweets, candies and fruits into the Christmas log for kids.
The main Christmas service is ministered at Notre Dame de Paris. All over Elysian Fields people have fun. The illumination on trees is so bright that it is almost like during the day here.