So, I was hoping to write this shortly after Christmas but we spent this two-week vacation traveling around. The first week we spent in Normandy with my dad’s cousins and were able to experience a very traditional Christmas holiday, the following week we spent in London. We are actually currently sitting at the London train station ready to head back to France. The internet at the place in London blocked websites at random and UNM was one of them…. so here I am, a late blogger.
Okay, so Christmas in France is different in several ways than it is in the United States and being able to spend it with family gave me a greater sense of the differences and experience an authentic Christmas. First, all the Christmas carols we have in English have a French version. Jingle Bells becomes Vive le Vent or Oh Christmas Tree is Mon Beau Sapin. Very cool to hear and learn about. Another interesting thing about Christmas here in France is how Food Oriented it is. Food wise I would say France is on par with the United States Thanksgiving in terms of food and meal traditions.
While in the United States foods like turkey, ham, and pies are the general foods for a Christmas meal in France it is very different. Salmon, oysters, snails, fois gras, turkey, and in general fruit de la mer (seafood like oysters) are typical french customs. They even have a traditional dessert bûche, which is like a rolled cake. Food is very important at Christmas time here.
For my family, they opened all the presents on Christmas Eve and it was a huge family event. All the kids went upstairs while all the adults filled the room with gifts and then went into another room while the children discovered the room full of gifts. We then spent the next hours opening gifts and then telling the rest of the group what we got. The picture below is of most of the present, that room was empty meer minutes earlier.
After that was a 5-course meal. They are very big on their 5-course meal.
First, we began with an aperitif (a mixed alcoholic drink)
Then many many appetizers, generally bread of some sort with either salmon or very salty fish eggs.
Plus escargot or other seafood, such as these beauties below.
This would be followed by the actual meal. We had boar meat, after that we would have a full on cheese tray that consisted of many many stinky kinds of cheese with a lot of bread of course followed by dessert and then after that would be coffee or tea.
The meals went on for two days, Christmas day was all about food with one very large meal and A LOT of people. It was cool but also exhausting because though my French has improved significantly… when there are a lot of people speaking at once it is just exhausting and impossible to understand anything. This was a great opportunity to understand the full range of Evangeline’s French abilities though. More on that in my next post. It was a great cultural experience and although this may not be the same traditions other families in France have but this was our experience for the both of us.
Sorry for the late post, it has been a crazy two weeks. Expect another post in the next few days with an exciting update on Evangelines French.
Bonne Vacance à tous et bonne annèe