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Archive for the 'French Holidays' Category

Fête de la Musique: Celebrating World Music Day in France

In France, ninety-seven percent of French people know about Fête de la musique (”World Music Day”)!

On World Make Music Day (or simply Make Music Day), France celebrates music and encourages anyone and everyone to create music, along with many other countries.

This is the most characteristic aspect of World Music Day: It encourages absolutely everyone to do some music; anyone can sing or play an instrument, alone or in a band, in public spaces. Hence the wide range of styles and talents during the Fête de la musique French festivals.

World Music Day in France is a prime example of how a country’s holidays can reveal what its people hold near to their hearts. And any successful language learner can tell you that comprehending a country’s culture is a necessary step in mastering its language. At FrenchPod101.com, we hope to make this learning journey both fun and informative!

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1. What is Music Day in France?

Though sometimes referred to as the biggest music festival in France, World Music Day is completely different from a music festival. La fête de la musique, also known as “World Music Day,” is the celebration of music and life through free concerts and presentations, mainly outdoors, on the summer solstice each year. This popular manifestation encourages professional and amateurs alike to play instruments on the streets.

The idea of Music Day first appeared in 1976. It was conceived by the American musician Joel Cohen, who worked at the time for the radio station “Radio France” (France Musique). Back then, Cohen was proposing “Musical Saturnalians” for the two solstices, the winter one on December twenty-first and the summer one on June twenty-first.

After the presidential elections of 1981, Maurice Fleuret adopted the idea, which Jack Lang (then Minister of Culture) put in place. It took place for the first time on June 21, 1982, and was officially declared the following year. Music Day immediately met an increasing success, which has spread to this day well beyond the French borders.

2. When is World Music Day?

Musical Notes on a Page

On June 21, France celebrates World Music Day. This is usually on the date of the summer solstice, the perfect time of year for outdoor music fun! As mentioned earlier, the 21 June France celebration date for this holiday was chosen in 1982.

3. World Music Festival: France’s Celebrations

La fête de la musique (meaning “World Music Day̶ ;) is such a fun day. Anywhere you go, music is present. On Music Day, France is home to all types of music styles that are represented by young, talented musicians—from newly created bands to professionals making it their way of life. Concerts are organized with elaborate production, and musicians on their own or in small groups play with their instruments on street corners. Everyone performs for free, just for the pleasure of sharing their art.

People who appreciate the music, but aren’t actually playing, enjoy the day by walking through the yards of castles, schools, and town squares to enjoy the performances. The mature public usually appreciate orchestras, choruses, and operas which take place in scheduled places and times in large towns. The younger generations prefer to dance and party till dawn at programmed concerts offered by the city.

Bars and restaurants take on bands and musicians to attract people inside or on their patio. People can also find music playing in prisons, hospitals, airports, and subways.

French bars and restaurants usually have to close a little after midnight. But on Music Day, they’re allowed to stay open much later to welcome the public. Furthermore, the date of the twenty-first most often corresponds with the summer solstice, the longest day of the year. Night falls very late, so French people often use this as an excuse to continue celebrations late into the night!

4. Most Common Musical Instruments in France

A Music Festival

Do you know which musical instrument is played the most by French people?

In France, the most played musical instrument is the guitar, closely followed by the piano. But the piano is the instrument that is most taught in music schools, whereas many people play the guitar as amateurs, without a teacher.

5. Vocabulary You Should Know for World Music Day

Woman Playing an Instrument

Here’s some vocabulary you should know for Music Day in France!

  • Jazz — “Jazz
  • Rue — “Street”
  • Guitare — “Guitar”
  • Violon — “Violin”
  • Concert — “Concert”
  • Musique rock — “Rock music
  • Batterie — “Drums”
  • Festival — “Festival”
  • Fête de la musique — “Music Day”
  • Groupe — “Band”
  • Jouer — “Play”

To hear each vocabulary word pronounced, check out our French Music Day vocabulary list. Here, you’ll find each word alongside an audio file of its pronunciation.

Conclusion

Did you know about World Music Day before reading this article? Does your country have elaborate celebrations for Music Day like France does? Let us know in the comments!

To learn more about the culture in France and the French language, visit us at FrenchPod101.com. We provide practical learning tools for every learner to ensure that anyone can master French! Read more insightful blog posts like this one, study up with our free French vocabulary lists, and chat with fellow French students on our community forums! By upgrading to Premium Plus, you can also begin learning French one-on-one with your own personal teacher through our MyTeacher program.

Learning a new language, and absorbing the culture around it, is no easy task. But it’s well worth the effort and determination you put into it! And FrenchPod101 will be here with you for each step of your journey to mastery.

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Fête de Voisins: Celebrating National Neighbor Day in France

National Neighbor Day in France (or Fête de Voisins as voisin is “neighbor” in French) is a day for people to spend time with their neighbors, usually in the form of a party. This is a significant concept in a world that’s becoming more and more adapted to life on the screen, and where people are spending less face time with each other. It can be difficult to even muster a “hello” to fellow neighbors these days!

On Neighbor’s Day, France encourages its people to get together, socialize, and just appreciate each other. It’s such a revolutionary type of holiday that other places around the world are beginning to celebrate it too (resulting in a European Neighbor’s Day).

At FrenchPod101, we hope to clue you in on what to expect should you receive a Fête de Voisins invitation, and teach you all about the origins of Neighbor’s Day in France. We hope to make this learning journey both fun and informative!

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1. What is Neighbor’s Day (Europe)?

Neighbor’s Day, also called Immeubles en fête (”Building Festival”), is an originally French holiday. Its goal is to let neighbors meet each other in a friendly way, and is the initiative of a Parisian non-profit association.

This idea was born in 1990 when a group of friends created the association Paris d’amis (”Paris of Friends̶ ;) in the seventeenth district of the French capital. They wanted to strengthen the ties of proximity between inhabitants in the neighborhood and thereby fight isolation.

The association then carried out numerous projects with this goal, such as a sponsorship service for neighbors with hardships.

In 1999, the association launched Neighbor’s Day in the seventeenth district of Paris. And its success was immediate because 800 buildings participated, mobilizing more than 10,000 inhabitants!

2. When is Neighbor’s Day in France?

Flat Apartment

The date of Neighbor’s Day varies each year, though it is always the last Friday of May or the first Friday in June. In 2019, it will take place on May 31.

3. Reading Practice: How Does France Celebrate Neighbor’s Day?

Neighbor's Getting Together For a Meal

Learn how Neighbor’s Day is celebrated in France by reading the French text below! You can find the English translation directly below it.

Le principe est simple—une fête est organisée dans un immeuble, une maison, un jardin…Tout le monde est libre d’organiser cette fête et d’ y participer ! Chaque participant peut amener à boire ou à manger.

Cette initiative permet de rencontrer ses voisins et de mieux connaître les personnes qui habitent le quartier.

Cet évènement français a maintenant dépassé les frontières de son pays d’origine, d’abord avec l’extension de la fête à la Belgique et 10 autres villes européennes en 2003, puis avec l’organisation de la Journée européenne des voisins en 2004, qui se déroule dans plus de 150 villes d’Europe, et au-delà avec le Canada, la Turquie et l’Azerbaïdjan.

Il existe un film français à propos de la fête des voisins ! Réalisé en 2010 par David Haddad, ce film narre l’histoire de Pierrot, gardien qui organise cette fête dans son immeuble. Il s’intitule “La Fête des voisins.”

The principle is simple—a party is organized in a building, house, garden, and so on. Everyone is free to organize the party and to participate in it! Each participant can bring something to drink or eat.

This initiative lets neighbors meet and to get to know people who live in the neighborhood better.

This French event has now crossed the borders of its home country, first with the extension of the holiday into Belgium and ten other European cities in 2003. Then, with the organization of European Neighbor’s Day in 2004, which takes place in more than 150 cities in Europe and beyond in Canada, Turkey, and Azerbaijan.

There is a French film about Neighbor’s Day! Released in 2010 and directed by David Haddad, the film tells the story of Pierrot, a security guard who organizes a party in his building. It’s called “La Fête des voisins.”

4. Three Largest Cities in France

Do you know which are the three biggest cities in France?

The three biggest cities in France are Paris, Marseille, and Lyon. Just these three cities alone house more than three-million people. That’s a lot of neighbors to invite over!

5. Useful Vocabulary for National Neighbor Day in France

Real Estate Sign

Here’s some vocabulary you should know for Neighbor’s Day in France!

  • Maison — “House
  • Rue — “Street”
  • Étage — “Floor”
  • Voisine — “Neighbor”
  • Fête des voisins — “Neighbor’s Day”
  • Appartement — “Flat”
  • Digicode — “Digital lock”
  • Immobilier — “Real estate”
  • Quartier — “Neighborhood”
  • Lotissement — “Housing estate”

To hear each of these vocabulary words pronounced, check out our Neighbor’s Day vocabulary list. Here, you’ll find each word accompanied by an audio file of its pronunciation.

Conclusion

What do you think of the idea behind France’s Neighbors’ Day? Does your country have a similar holiday (such as National Good Neighbor Day)? And if not, do you wish it did? Let us know in the comments!

To continue learning about France’s history, culture, and language, visit us at FrenchPod101.com! We have something here for every learner, making it possible for anyone to master French! Find insightful blog posts like this one, free vocabulary lists, and an online forum where you can chat with fellow French students. You can also take advantage of our MyTeacher program by creating a Premium Plus account, to learn French one-on-one with your own personal French teacher.

Until next time, hang in there, keep your determination fueled, and say hi to your neighbors for us!

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Lundi de Pâques: Easter Monday in France

If you know our history, you should know that France is a secular country. In 1905, a law was created to separate the Church from the State. Still, many public holidays and traditions in France have Catholic origins. And one of the most important Catholic holidays is Easter.

Is Easter Monday a bank holiday in France? Yes! Easter in France, for kids especially, is a great joy!

In this lesson, we’re going to teach you how French people celebrate Easter. At FrenchPod101.com, we hope to make learning about French culture both fun and informative!

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1. What is Easter Monday in France?

Originally, Easter commemorated the resurrection of Jesus Christ and marked the end of Lent for Catholics. Lent is a period of fasting that lasts forty days, referencing the forty-day fast that Jesus Christ did in the desert. The Monday following this Sunday is a public holiday called Lundi de Pâques. Many French people celebrate this holiday, even if they’re not Catholic or religious.

2. When is Easter Celebrated in France?

Someone Marking Calendar

The date of Easter Monday (the Monday after Easter) in France varies from year to year. For your convenience, here’s a list of this holiday’s date for the next ten years:

  • 2019: April 22
  • 2020: April 13
  • 2021: April 5
  • 2022: April 18
  • 2023: April 10
  • 2024: April 1
  • 2025: April 21
  • 2026: April 6
  • 2027: March 29
  • 2028: April 17

3. Reading Practice: Easter Celebrations in France

Someone with Candle Praying

How is Easter Monday celebrated in France? Read the French text below to find out (and find the English translation directly below it).

Les Français fêtent Pâques en famille. Le dimanche, les adultes cachent des œufs dans le jardin ou la maison, et les enfants doivent les chercher. Ce sont de vrais œufs de poule, vidés et décorés, ou alors ils sont en chocolat. Traditionnellement, on offrait des œufs à Pâques car, durant le Carême, on ne pouvait en manger. Mais les poules continuaient à pondre des œufs ! Une fois le Carême passé, on offrait alors ses œufs en trop à ses amis, ses voisins… Aujourd’hui, on n’offre pas uniquement des œufs. En effet, les chocolatiers proposent, par exemple, des chocolats en forme de lapin, de cloche, de poisson… le choix est varié !

En France, on raconte aux jeunes enfants que ce sont les cloches qui apportent les œufs de Pâques. Car la tradition veut que les cloches des églises sonnent chaque jour de l’année, mais au moment de Pâques, elles sont silencieuses du jeudi au samedi. Elles résonnent le dimanche de Pâques et apportent aux enfants des chocolats. Par contre en Alsace, on dit aux enfants que c’est le lapin de Pâques qui délivre les chocolats.

Connaissez-vous le 1er avril ? C’est un jour où l’on fait des farces aux autres. On colle un poisson en papier dans le dos d’une personne. C’est pour cela qu’à Pâques, on peut déguster des poissons en chocolat, en référence au “poisson d’avril.”

French people celebrate Easter as a family. On Sunday, adults hide eggs in the garden or in the house, and the children have to look for them. These can be real hen eggs that have been hollowed out and decorated, or they’re made of chocolate. Traditionally, eggs were offered at Easter, because during Lent, you couldn’t eat them. But hens would continue laying eggs! Once Lent was over, these extra eggs were given to friends, neighbors, and so on. Today, not only eggs are given. Indeed, chocolate makers make chocolates in the shape of rabbits, bells, fish…the choice is great!

In France, young children are told that bells bring the Easter eggs because traditionally, church bells would ring every day of the year, but at Easter time, they would be silent from Thursday to Saturday. They would ring again on Easter Sunday and bring children chocolates. However, in Alsace, children are told that the Easter Rabbit brings the chocolates.

Do you know about April 1? It’s a day when we play jokes on each other. We stick a paper fish on someone’s back. This is why at Easter we have chocolate fish, in reference to the poisson d’avril (”April fish”).

4. Easter Symbols in France: Symbol of the Lamb

Do you know what French people generally eat at Easter? And be careful, we’re not talking about chocolate eggs!

At Easter, French people traditionally roast a lamb. The recipe is called agneau de Pâques (”Easter lamb”). This is because, for Christians, the lamb symbolizes Christ resurrected. During this time, butchers and supermarkets advertise lamb.

5. Must-know Vocab

Man Remembering Something

Here’s some vocabulary you should know for Easter in France!

  • Messe — “Mass”
  • Prière — “Prayer”
  • Rappeler — “Remind”
  • Deuxième jour — “Second day”
  • Semaine Radieuse — “Bright Week”
  • Octave de Pâques — “Octave of Easter
  • Huit jours — “Eight days”
  • Tous les jours — “Every day”
  • Temps Pascal — “Eastertide
  • Chant — “Chant”
  • Résurrection — “Resurrection”

To hear each word pronounced, check our our French Easter Monday vocabulary list. Here, you’ll find each word accompanied by an audio of its pronunciation.

Conclusion

What do you think about Easter in France? Are Easter celebrations similar in your country (or different?). Let us know in the comments!

To learn more about French culture and the language, visit us at FrenchPod101.com! We offer an array of insightful blog posts, free vocabulary lists to increase your word bank, and an online community where you can discuss lessons with other French learners. You can also learn French one-on-one with your own personal French teacher by upgrading to Premium Plus and taking advantage of our MyTeacher program!

Your determination and hard work will pay off, and FrenchPod101.com will be here to help you as you master the French language! Best wishes, and happy Easter!

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How to Celebrate Grandmother’s Day in France

For many, a grand-mère (“grandmother”) is a relative of unparalleled consideration and admiration. This is as true in France as it is in numerous countries around the world. Grandmother’s are so loved and respected that the French have dedicated a day just to celebrate them!

By learning about Grandmother’s Day in France, you’re also glimpsing a unique aspect of the country’s culture. From the commercial origin of this holiday to how it’s celebrated today, Grandmother’s Day in France is a reflection of both history and the present. And to think it all started with coffee

Let FrenchPod101.com guide you through the details of National Grandma Day!

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1. What is Grandmother’s Day in France?

In France, Grandmother’s Day is celebrated to honor grandmothers and show them the love they always shower us with. Grandma’s Day was first celebrated in France in 1987, and has grown since then into the holiday it is today.

2. When is Grandmother’s Day?

Grandmother's Day is on a Sunday

When is Grandmother’s Day? The date of Grandmother’s Day varies slightly each year in France, though it’s always on the first Sunday of March. For your convenience, here’s a list of this holiday’s date for the next ten years:

  • 2019: March 3
  • 2020: March 1
  • 2021: March 7
  • 2022: March 6
  • 2023: March 5
  • 2024: March 3
  • 2025: March 2
  • 2026: March 1
  • 2027: March 7
  • 2028: March 5

3. How is Grandma’s Day Celebrated?

Granddaughter Kissing Grandmother's Cheek

National Grandmother Day celebrations in France are all done in honor of one’s grandmother. Find out how the French celebrate this heartwarming holiday by reading the French text below (you can find the English translation directly below it).
—–
Les enfants créent donc à l’école des cadeaux pour leurs mamies et ce, dès la maternelle. C’est l’occasion pour les familles françaises de se retrouver. Les petits-enfants offrent des cadeaux à leurs grands-mères. Les présents les plus populaires sont les bouquets de fleurs ou les plantes, comme les orchidées . Une étude réalisée par les fleuristes français a montré que cette fête avait un impact significatif sur la vente des végétaux d’intérieur.

Durant cette journée, des évènements commerciaux ou non, sont organisés dans toute la France.

Par exemple, une “mamif” a lieu place de la Bastille depuis quelques années. Une “mamif” est un mot-valise jouant avec les mots mamie et manifestation. Le but de cet évènement était de réunir les mamies et leur famille.
Les grands-pères sont les grands oubliés du calendrier ! Effectivement, la fête des papis n’existe pas, contrairement à celle des grand-mères… Peut-être faut-il attendre qu’une marque créée cette fête ?

—–

Children create gifts for their grannies at school starting in kindergarten. It’s an occasion for French families to gather. Grandchildren give gifts to their grandmothers. The most popular presents are bouquets of flowers and plants such as orchids. A study carried out by French florists showed that the holiday had a significant impact on the sale of indoor plants.

During this day, events, whether commercial or not, are organized all over France.

For example, a “mamif” has taken place at La Bastille for a few years now. A “mamif” is a portmanteau word that plays upon the words “mamie” (grandma) and “manifestation” (rally). The event is meant to unite grandmas with their family.

Grandfathers are completely forgotten from the calendar! Indeed, “Grandfather’s Day” doesn’t exist, as opposed to Grandmother’s Day… Perhaps we’ll have to wait until a brand creates this holiday?

4. Additional Information

A survey was made of French grandmothers, and do you know what the main motivation for 80% of them is?

In France, there are more than 6 million grandmothers. They are an average of 65 years old and have four grandchildren.

And for 80% of them, the most important thing is to indulge their grandchildren, according to a survey carried out on French grandmas.

This certainly explains why grandparents are often accused of spoiling their grandchildren!

5. Must-know Vocab

Offering Gifts to Grandmother

Here’s some vocabulary you should know for National Grandmother Day in France, including “Grandmother’s Day” in French:

  • Fête des Grands-Mères — “Grandmother’s Day”
  • Dimanche — “Sunday”
  • Mars — “March”
  • Cadeau — “Present”
  • Premier — “First”
  • Annuelle — “Annual”
  • Origine — “Origin”
  • Marque de café — “Coffee brand”
  • Fête commerciale — “Commercialized celebration”
  • Offrir — “Offer”
  • Grand-mère — “Grandmother”
  • Visite — “Visit”

To hear each vocabulary word pronounced, check out our French Grandmother’s Day vocabulary list. Here, you’ll find each word accompanied by an audio with its pronunciation.

Conclusion

Now you know more about Grandmother’s Day in France. Do you celebrate Grandmother’s Day in your own country, or a similar holiday? Let us know in the comments!

To learn even more about French culture and the language, visit us at FrenchPod101.com! We offer plenty of information through insightful blog posts, free vocabulary lists, and fun podcasts! Further, you can use our online community to discuss lessons with fellow French learners and check out our MyTeacher program for a one-on-one learning experience.

We hope you enjoyed today’s holiday blog. Keep up the study and practice, and you’re sure to reap the benefits and speak like a French native before you know it!

In the meantime, we’ll just wish you a Happy Grandmother’s Day!

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La Chandeleur: How to Celebrate Candlemas in France

Learning about French holidays is an excellent way to gaze at the country’s culture from a viewpoint you otherwise wouldn’t. La Chandeleur is no different, providing you with a lot of great history to study and ponder.

La Chandeleur or “Candlemas” is a French religious holiday, known for the delicious crepes the French make to celebrate. In fact, it’s often called Crêpe Day!

As with many holidays in France and worldwide, La Chandeleur lost its religious meaning over time. Originally a day to worship the god Pan, and later Jesus Christ, most French today use Candlemas as a day of fun and good French food.

While the religious meaning is pretty much looked over today, many Candlemas traditions in France remain.

Find out more about Candlemas Day, from Candlemas traditions to information on its shifting meaning over the years.

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1. What is Candlemas in France?

La Chandeleur, or Candlemas in France, was once an important religious holiday to the French people. It began as a day dedicated to worshipping the god Pan, as this was a custom Roman tradition. However, this Candlemas tradition came to an end in 472 when Pope Gelasius I decided to Christianize the holiday. Religious people would worship Jesus instead by lighting candles. Chandeleur comes from the word chandelle meaning “candle,” hence the holiday’s name.

Like most holidays, La Chandeleur eventually lost most of its religious meaning. But that doesn’t mean Candlemas traditions ended! Certainly not. This French holiday proves to remain largely celebrated and is held close to the French people’s heart.

2. When is Candlemas Day?

Clock

The French celebrate Candlemas on February 2 each year, which is forty days after Christmas. This explains the similarities in the two holidays’ names.

3. How is it Celebrated?

Candle

1- French Candlemas Traditions: Crepes

Candlemas is a holiday that French people celebrate with their family if they have young children, or with their friends. And this is France we’re talking about, so of course Candlemas celebrations are going to involve crepes and crepe-making! But why do French people make crêpes on this day in particular?

Well, at this time of the year, winter planting would begin. Peasants would use their excess flour to make crêpes. Also, with their round shape and golden color, they reminded people of the sun.

In France, making the crepes is just as much fun as eating them! The French have a fascinating Candlemas tradition: If you use a “frying pan,” or poêle à frire, you need to flip the crêpe without letting it fall! If it falls, it brings bad luck. In French, “good luck” is called Bonne Chance and “bad luck” is called Malchance.

In the past, an ancient coin was used while flipping your crêpe. Someone would hold the Louis coin in their hand, and if the crêpe fell properly they would be rich and have prosperity all year long. Nowadays no one does this, but you could still try it with your own currency if you want!

2- Religious Traditions

For those who still hold La Chandeuleur’s religious meaning close to heart, there are several religious traditions that take place.

This day is also called by some as the day of “the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple” (présentation de Jésus au temple) or the day of “the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary” (purification de la vierge Marie). This is due to the fact that in times past, it was customary for a woman to present herself for purification about a month after a boy’s circumcision; in the Book of Luke, this occurs with Jesus.

On Chandeleur in France, many people attend church with candles and have them blessed. It’s believed that the candles serve as a representation of Jesus’ claim to be Light.

Further, many French people light their homes with candles and put away Christmas decorations.

4. Additional Information

A few weeks before the day, French people will start seeing advertisements for crêpe batter in magazines or on television. There are two types of batter. One is made with wheat for sweet fillings, and the other is made with buckwheat for savory fillings.

Now, crepes are a kind of really thin, soft, pastry dough made with milk, eggs, flour, and a bit of butter to make it better. You put them in a pan, flip them, and fill them with whatever you like. Usually, it’s sweet with sugar, jam, or chocolate.

Crepes called Crêpes Suzette are a great classic of French cuisine invented by Auguste Escoffier. They’re made with melted butter mixed with sugar, Grand Marnier, orange, and lemon. They can be flambéed with Grand Marnier.

Crêpes from Brittany are also popular throughout France. If you go to Brittany, you simply must try this culinary specialty!

5. Must-know Vocab

Vocabulary

Here’s some vocab you should know to celebrate Candlemas Day:

  • soleil — “sun”
  • farine — “flour”
  • hiver — “winter”
  • minuit — “midnight”
  • crêpe — “crepe”
  • chandelle — “candle”
  • lumière — “light”
  • présentation de Jésus au temple — “presentation of Jesus at the temple
  • fête religieuse chrétienne — “Christian religious festival”
  • prospérité — “prosperity”
  • proverbe — “proverb”
  • purification de la vierge Marie — “purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary”

If you want to hear each of these words with its pronunciation, be sure to check out our French Candlemas Day vocabulary list. Here, you can read each word while listening to an audio pronunciation.

Conclusion

Now you know a little more about France’s La Chandeleur. What do you think about this holiday? Do you celebrate Candlemas or a similar holiday in your home country? Let us know in the comments!

To learn even more about French culture, be sure to visit us at FrenchPod101.com. We offer several blog posts, free vocabulary lists, and even host an online community where you can discuss lessons with fellow students. And if you prefer a one-on-one approach to learning, be sure to download our MyTeacher app so you can learn French with your own personal teacher.

Be sure to create your account soon to learn French efficiently, and have fun while doing it!

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How to Say Happy New Year in French & New Year Wishes

Learn all the French New Year wishes online, in your own time, on any device! Join FrenchPod101 for a special French New Year celebration!

How to Say Happy New Year in French

Can you relate to the year passing something like this: “January, February, March - December!”? Many people do! Quantum physics teaches us that time is relative, and few experiences illustrate this principle as perfectly as when we reach the end of a year. To most of us, it feels like the old one has passed in the blink of an eye, while the new year lies ahead like a very long journey! However, New Year is also a time to celebrate beginnings, and to say goodbye to what has passed. This is true in every culture, no matter when New Year is celebrated.

So, how do you say Happy New Year in French? Let a native teach you! At FrenchPod101, you will learn how to correctly greet your friends over New Year, and wish them well with these French New Year wishes!

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Table of Contents

  1. How to Celebrate New Year in France
  2. Must-Know French Words & Phrases for the New Year!
  3. Top 10 New Year’s Resolutions in French
  4. Inspirational New Year Quotes
  5. Inspirational Language Learning Quotes
  6. How To Say Happy New Year in 31 Languages
  7. How FrenchPod101 Can Help You Learn French

But let’s start with some vocabulary for French New Year celebrations, very handy for conversations.

1. How to Celebrate New Year in France

Like in many other countries, French people celebrate the New Year, or “Nouvel An” in French, on December 31. This celebration is also called “le réveillon de la Saint Sylvestre” or “le réveillon du Jour de l’an”. For French people, it’s a special time to be spent among friends, an opportunity to eat a good meal, a time to dance, and of course a time to party until the end of the night.

Now, before we get into more detail, do you know the answer to this question?

What do French people traditionally have to do when they pass under a sprig of mistletoe, as well as just after the stroke of midnight on New Years?

If you don’t already know, you’ll find out a bit later. Keep reading.

In France, people celebrate the coming New year with friends. The celebration takes place at home, or in cafes and restaurants. The most popular places are those close to the Eiffel Tower, or in French, “Tour Eiffel”. Restaurants and homes are decorated with banners, or “banderoles”, displaying messages that say “Happy New Year.” As soon as night falls, people go and meet to share the last meal of the year, and to also spend the evening together. It’s a good opportunity to take some time and enjoy life.

As you may know, French people are foodies. In order to spend the evening well, they have to eat a sophisticated meal! Supper takes place over several courses. First, there is the “apéritif”, when French people drink champagne and give toasts to the health of friends and family. Then they begin to eat, starting with smoked salmon or foie gras on toast. People also eat oysters, meat, or fish. And of course, there has to be a cheese platter! For dessert, French people sometimes eat a log cake. Doesn’t all of this make you hungry?

After the meal, French people turn on the TV for the midnight countdown. The most watched show of the night is called “Le plus grand Cabaret du Monde”, which can be translated as “The Biggest Cabaret in the World.” It takes place at a theater and features magic, dance, and acrobatic performances. Once midnight has struck, the New Year is here! French people celebrate this moment by throwing paper cotillons. French people also wish a “Happy New Year,” or “Bonne Année”, to all of their close relations, so they call all their family members. Then they give each other New Year’s gifts, or “étrennes”. In general, these consist of envelopes with money in them.

Did you know? After the New Year, you should make some resolutions! In French, “New Year’s resolution” is “Bonnes résolutions”. You need to choose one or more ways in which you’re committed to improving your behavior in the coming year. Losing weight, quitting smoking, or playing more sports are the resolutions chosen most often by French people.

Now it’s time to answer our quiz question!

Do you know what French people traditionally have to do when they pass under a sprig of mistletoe, and at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s?

Custom dictates that French people should kiss under a sprig of mistletoe. This plant is used as an ornament for the holiday season. It symbolizes prosperity and longevity. The legend states that couples who kiss under the mistletoe will be married within the year.

Happy New Year!
Bonne Année!

2. Must-Know French Words & Phrases for the New Year!

French Words & Phrases for the New Year

1- Year

année

This is pretty self-explanatory. Most countries follow a Gregorian calendar, which has approximately 365 days in a year, while in some cultures, other year designations are also honored. Therefore, New Year’s day in France could fall on a different day than in your country. When do you celebrate New Year?

2- Midnight

minuit

The point in time when a day ends and a new one starts. Many New Year celebrants prefer to stay awake till midnight, and greet the new annum as it breaks with fanfare and fireworks!

3- New Year’s Day

nouvel an

In most countries, the new year is celebrated for one whole day. On the Gregorian calendar, this falls on January 1st. On this day, different cultures engage in festive activities, like parties, parades, big meals with families and many more.

How to Celebrate New Year

4- Party

fête

A party is most people’s favorite way to end the old year, and charge festively into the new one! We celebrate all we accomplished in the old year, and joyfully anticipate what lies ahead.

5- Dancing

danse

Usually, when the clock strikes midnight and the New Year officially begins, people break out in dance! It is a jolly way to express a celebratory mood with good expectations for the year ahead. Also, perhaps, that the old year with its problems has finally passed! Dance parties are also a popular way to spend New Year’s Eve in many places.

6- Champagne

champagne

Originating in France, champagne is a bubbly, alcoholic drink that is often used to toast something or someone during celebrations.

7- Fireworks

feu d’artifice

These are explosives that cause spectacular effects when ignited. They are popular for announcing the start of the new year with loud noises and colorful displays! In some countries, fireworks are set off to scare away evil spirits. In others, the use of fireworks is forbidden in urban areas due to their harmful effect on pets. Most animals’ hearing is much more sensitive than humans’, so this noisy display can be very frightful and traumatising to them.

8- Countdown

compte à rebours

This countdown refers to New Year celebrants counting the seconds, usually backward, till midnight, when New Year starts - a great group activity that doesn’t scare animals, and involves a lot of joyful shouting when the clock strikes midnight!

9- New Year’s Holiday

vacances du nouvel an

In many countries, New Year’s Day is a public holiday - to recuperate from the party the previous night, perhaps! Families also like to meet on this day to enjoy a meal and spend time together.

10- Confetti

confettis

In most Western countries, confetti is traditionally associated with weddings, but often it is used as a party decoration. Some prefer to throw it in the air at the strike of midnight on New Year’s Eve.

11- New Year’s Eve

Réveillon

This is the evening before New Year breaks at midnight! Often, friends and family meet for a party or meal the evening before, sometimes engaging in year-end rituals. How are you planning to give your New Year greetings in 2018?

12- Toast

toast

A toast is a type of group-salutation that involves raising your glass to drink with others in honor of something or someone. A toast to the new year is definitely in order!

13- Resolution

résolution

Those goals or intentions you hope to, but seldom keep in the new year! Many people consider the start of a new year to be the opportune time for making changes or plans. Resolutions are those intentions to change, or the plans. It’s best to keep your resolutions realistic so as not to disappoint yourself!

14- Parade

parade

New Year celebrations are a huge deal in some countries! Parades are held in the streets, often to celebratory music, with colorful costumes and lots of dancing. Parades are like marches, only less formal and way more fun. At FrenchPod101, you can engage in forums with natives who can tell you what French New Year celebrations are like!

3. Top 10 New Year’s Resolutions

New Year’s Resolutions List

So, you learned the French word for ‘resolution’. Fabulous! Resolutions are those goals and intentions that we hope to manifest in the year that lies ahead. The beginning of a new year serves as a good marker in time to formalise these. Some like to do it in writing, others only hold these resolutions in their hearts. Here are our Top 10 New Year’s resolutions at FrenchPod101 - what are yours?

Learn these phrases and impress your French friends with your vocabulary.

New Year's Resolutions

1- Read more

lire plus

Reading is a fantastic skill that everyone can benefit from. You’re a business person? Apparently, successful business men and women read up to 60 books a year. This probably excludes fiction, so better scan your library or Amazon for the top business reads if you plan to follow in the footsteps of the successful! Otherwise, why not make it your resolution to read more French in the new year? You will be surprised by how much this will improve your French language skills!

2- Spend more time with family

Passer plus de temps avec ma famille.

Former US President George Bush’s wife, Barbara Bush, was quoted as having said this: “At the end of your life, you will never regret not having passed one more test, not winning one more verdict, or not closing one more deal. You will regret time not spent with a husband, a friend, a child, a parent.” This is very true! Relationships are often what gives life meaning, so this is a worthy resolution for any year.

3- Lose weight

perdre du poids

Hands up, how many of you made this new year’s resolution last year too…?! This is a notoriously difficult goal to keep, as it takes a lot of self discipline not to eat unhealthily. Good luck with this one, and avoid unhealthy fad diets!

4- Save money

économiser de l’argent

Another common and difficult resolution! However, no one has ever been sorry when they saved towards reaching a goal. Make it your resolution to save money to upgrade your subscription to FrenchPod101’s Premium PLUS option in the new year - it will be money well spent!

5- Quit smoking

Arrêter de fumer.

This is a resolution that you should definitely keep, or your body could punish you severely later! Smoking is a harmful habit with many hazardous effects on your health. Do everything in your power to make this resolution come true in the new year, as your health is your most precious asset.

6- Learn something new

Apprendre quelque chose de nouveau.

Science has proven that learning new skills can help keep brain diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s at bay! It can even slow down the progression of the disease. So, keep your brain healthy by learning to speak a new language, studying towards a qualification, learning how to sew, or how to play chess - no matter how old you are, the possibilities are infinite!

7- Drink less

moins boire

This is another health resolution that is good to heed any time of the year. Excessive drinking is associated with many diseases, and its effect can be very detrimental to good relationships too. Alcohol is a poison and harmful for the body in large quantities!

8- Exercise regularly

Faire du sport régulièrement.

This resolution goes hand-in-hand with ‘Lose weight’! An inactive body is an unhealthy and often overweight one, so give this resolution priority in the new year.

9- Eat healthy

manger sainement

If you stick with this resolution, you will lose weight and feel better in general. It is a very worthy goal to have!

10- Study French with FrenchPod101

étudier le français avec FrenchPod101.com

Of course! You can only benefit from learning French, especially with us! Learning how to speak French can keep your brain healthy, it can widen your circle of friends, and improve your chances to land a dream job anywhere in the world. FrenchPod101 makes it easy and enjoyable for you to stick to this resolution.

4. Inspirational New Year Quotes

Inspirational Quotes

Everyone knows that it is sometimes very hard to stick to resolutions, and not only over New Year. The reasons for this vary from person to person, but all of us need inspiration every now and then! A good way to remain motivated is to keep inspirational quotes near as reminders that it’s up to us to reach our goals.

Click here for quotes that will also work well in a card for a special French new year greeting!

Make decorative notes of these in French, and keep them close! Perhaps you could stick them above your bathroom mirror, or on your study’s wall. This way you not only get to read French incidentally, but also remain inspired to reach your goals! Imagine feeling like giving up on a goal, but reading this quote when you go to the bathroom: “It does not matter how slowly you go, as long as you do not stop.” What a positive affirmation!

5. Inspirational Language Learning Quotes

Language Learning Quotes

Still undecided whether you should enroll with FrenchPod101 to learn a new language? There’s no time like the present to decide! Let the following Language Learning Quotes inspire you with their wisdom.

Click here to read the most inspirational Language Learning Quotes!

As legendary President Nelson Mandela once said: “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart.” So, learning how to say Happy New Year in French could well be a way into someone special’s heart for you! Let this year be the one where you to learn how to say Happy New Year, and much more, in French - it could open many and unexpected doors for you.

6. How To Say Happy New Year in 31 Languages

Here’s a lovely bonus for you! Why stop with French - learn how to say Happy New Year in 31 other languages too! Watch this video and learn how to pronounce these New Year’s wishes like a native in under two minutes.

7. Why Enrolling with FrenchPod101 Would Be the Perfect New Year’s Gift to Yourself!

If you are unsure how to celebrate the New Year, why not give yourself a huge gift, and enroll to learn French! With more than 12 years of experience behind us, we know that FrenchPod101 would be the perfect fit for you. There are so many reasons for this!

Learning Paths

  • Custom-tailored Learning Paths: Start learning French at the level that you are. We have numerous Learning Pathways, and we tailor them just for you based on your goals and interests! What a boon!
  • Marked Progress and Fresh Learning Material Every Week: We make new lessons available every week, with an option to track your progress. Topics are culturally appropriate and useful, such as “Learning how to deliver negative answers politely to a business partner.” Our aim is to equip you with French that makes sense!
  • Multiple Learning Tools: Learn in fun, easy ways with resources such 1,000+ video and audio lessons, flashcards, detailed PDF downloads, and mobile apps suitable for multiple devices!
  • Fast Track Learning Option: If you’re serious about fast-tracking your learning, Premium Plus would be the perfect way to go! Enjoy perks such as personalised lessons with ongoing guidance from your own, native-speaking teacher, and one-on-one learning on your mobile app! You will not be alone in your learning. Weekly assignments with non-stop feedback, answers and corrections will ensure speedy progress.
  • Fun and Easy: Keeping the lessons fun and easy-to-learn is our aim, so you will stay motivated by your progress!

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There’s no reason not to go big in 2018 by learning French with FrenchPod101. Just imagine how the world can open up for you!

How to Say ‘Merry Christmas’ in French

How to Say Merry Christmas in French

Do you know any ways to wish someone a ‘Merry Christmas’ in French? FrenchPod101 brings you easy-to-learn translations and the correct pronunciation of French Christmas phrases!

Christmas is the annual commemorative festival of Christ’s birth in the Western Christian Church. It takes place on December 25th and is usually celebrated with much food and fanfare! However, not all cultures celebrate Christmas. In some countries, Christmas is not even a public holiday! However, many countries have adapted Christmas and its religious meaning to tally with their own beliefs, or simply in acknowledgment of the festival’s importance to other cultures. If you want to impress native French speakers with culturally-appropriate Christmas phrases and vocabulary, FrenchPod101 will teach you the most important ways to wish someone a ‘Merry Christmas’ in French!

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Table of Contents

  1. How to Celebrate Christmas in France
  2. Holiday Greetings and Wishes
  3. Must-Know Christmas Day Vocabulary
  4. Twelve Days of Christmas
  5. Top 10 Christmas Characters
  6. How FrenchPod101 Can Help You

1. How to Celebrate Christmas in France

Christmas Words in French

Like those in many other countries, French people celebrate Christmas on December 25th. Indeed, for a long time before it became a secular state, France had a Catholic government. This is why many celebrations and public holidays have religious origins. For French people, even for non-believers, Christmas remains a very important celebration. In this lesson, you will learn how to celebrate it French-style!

Now, before we get into more detail, do you know the answer to this question?

What special meal is served at Christmas, only in Provence?

If you don’t already know, you’ll find out a bit later. Keep reading.

During the holiday period, many Christmas markets, or marchés de Noël, are held in different French cities. The most famous one takes place in Strasbourg, in Alsace. French people can buy Christmas decorations there, as well as regional products and food, including cakes. People also drink hot wine, or vin chaud. This is a hot drink, generally made with red wine and spices, that is drunk during winter.

In France, Christmas is a family holiday. It’s an occasion to see many family members including parents, grandparents, and cousins. French people celebrate Christmas in their home, which they decorate to mark the occasion. The Christmas tree, or sapin de Noël, is an indispensable element in this. Whether real or artificial, it dominates the living room. The presents are put in front of it, and it is decorated with Christmas ornaments and garlands.

The colors most often used by French people to decorate their houses are red, gold, silver, and green.

Christmas Eve, or Réveillon de Noël, is celebrated on December 24. A real feast is served. Traditionally, it is made up of a Christmas turkey, or dinde de Noël, with a log cake for dessert. French people also eat oysters or snails. As for the presents, they are given out at either midnight, after the meal, or the next morning. French children believe in Santa Claus or Père Noël and it’s not rare to have a family member dress up in order to give the kids their gifts.

The most well-known French Christmas song is “Petit Papa Noël,” which means “Little Santa Claus.” It was written by Raymond Vinci and the music was composed by Henri Martinet. It tells the story of a little boy talking to Santa Claus.

Now it’s time to answer our quiz question!

In Provence, a Christmas meal is served that’s different from what you’ll find in other regions of France. It’s the thirteen desserts. Traditionally, they represent Jesus and the twelve apostles. The thirteen desserts are made up of dry fruits, fresh fruits, chocolates, and other sweets.

2. Holiday Greetings and Wishes for the Holiday Season

Holiday Greetings and Wishes

1- Merry Christmas!

Joyeux Noël !

Do you know how to say ‘Merry Christmas’ in French? Learn here how to pronounce it perfectly! ‘Merry’ means to be joyful, to celebrate and generally be in good spirits. So, with this phrase you are wishing someone a joyful, celebratory remembrance of Christ’s birth!

2- Happy Kwanzaa!

Joyeux Kwanzaa!

Surprise your African-American, or West African native friends with this phrase over the Christmas holidays! Kwanzaa is a seven-day, non-religious celebration, starting on Dec 26th each year. It has its roots in African American modern history, and many people celebrate both Kwanzaa and Christmas!

3- Have a happy New Year!

Bonne année!

In countries where Christmas is not officially celebrated, but a Gregorian calendar is observed, this would be a friendly festive-season wish over New Year.

4- Happy Hanukkah!

Joyeux Hanukkah!

Hanukkah is the beautiful Hebrew festival over November or December each year. It is also called the ‘Festival of Lights’ and is celebrated to commemorate the Jewish freedom of religion.

5- Have a great winter vacation!

Bonnes vacances d’hiver!

This is a good phrase to keep handy if someone doesn’t observe any religious festival over the Christmas holidays! However, this will only be applicable in the Northern hemisphere, where it is winter over Christmas.

6- See you next year!

À l’année prochaine!

Going away on holiday over Christmas season, or saying goodbye to someone about to leave on vacation? This would be a good way to say goodbye to your friends and family.

7- Warm wishes!

Amicalement

An informal, friendly phrase to write in French Christmas cards, especially for secular friends who prefer to observe Christmas celebrations without the religious symbolism. It conveys the warmth of friendship and friendly wishes associated with this time of year.

8- Happy holidays!

Bonnes vacances!

If you forget how to say ‘Merry Christmas!’ in French, this is a safe, generic phrase to use instead.

9- Enjoy the holidays!

Profitez des vacances!

After saying ‘Merry Christmas’ in French, this would be a good phrase with which to wish Christmas holiday-goers well! It is also good to use for secular friends who don’t celebrate Christmas but take a holiday at this time of the year.

10- Best wishes for the New Year!

Meilleurs vœux pour la nouvelle année!

This is another way of wishing someone well in the New Year if they observe a Gregorian calendar. New Year’s day would then fall on January 1st.

3. Must-Know Christmas Day Vocabulary

Christmas is associated with many traditions and religious symbols in multiple countries across the world. It originated centuries ago in the West with the birth of Christianity, and the celebrations are often embedded with rich cultural significance. So, by now you know how to say Merry Christmas in French! Next, learn pertinent vocabulary and phrases pertaining to Christmas, as well as how to pronounce them correctly. At FrenchPod101, we make sure you sound like a native speaker!

1- Christmas

Noël

This is the French word for ‘Christmas’. Most happy Christmas wishes in French will include this word!

2- Snow

neige

In most Northern-hemisphere countries, Christmas is synonymous with snow, and for Christmas, the snowman is often dressed as Santa Claus.

3- Snowflake

flocon de neige

Snowflakes collectively make up snow. A single snowflake is small, white, light like a feather and icy cold! When put under a microscope, the snowflake reveals itself to have the most beautiful, symmetrical patterns. These patterns have become popular Christmas decorations, especially in Western countries.

4- Snowman

bonhomme de neige

As you guessed - a snowman is only possible to build if it is snowing! What a fun way to spend Christmas day outside.

5- Turkey

dinde

Roast turkey is the traditional main dish on thousands of lunch tables on Christmas day, mainly in Western countries. What is your favorite Christmas dish?

6- Wreath

couronne

Another traditional Western decoration for Christmas, the wreath is an arrangement of flowers, leaves, or stems fastened in a ring. Many families like to hang a Christmas wreath outside on their houses’ front doors.

7- Reindeer

renne

Reindeer are the animals commonly fabled to pull Santa Claus’ sled across the sky! Western Christmas folklore tells of Father Christmas or Santa Claus doing the rounds with his sled, carrying Christmas presents for children, and dropping them into houses through the chimney. But who is Santa Claus?

8- Santa Claus

Père Noël

Santa Claus is a legendary and jolly figure originating in the Western Christian culture. He is known by many names, but is traditionally depicted as a rotund man wearing a red costume with a pointy hat, and sporting a long, snow-white beard!

9- Elf

lutin

An elf is a supernatural creature of folklore with pointy ears, a dainty, humanoid body and a capricious nature. Elves are said to help Santa Claus distribute presents to children over Christmas!

10- Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

Rudolph le renne au nez rouge

‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer’ is a Christmas song based on an American children’s story book with the same name. Rudolph is one of Santa’s reindeer. The song became more famous than the book, and can still be heard playing in many shopping malls over Christmas time across the globe!

11- North Pole

pôle nord

The cold North Pole is where Santa Claus is reputed to live with his reindeer!

12- Sled

traîneau

A sled is a non-motorised land vehicle used to travel over snow in countries where it snows a lot, and is usually pulled by animals such as horses, dogs or reindeer. This one obviously refers to Santa’s sled! Another word for sled is sleigh or sledge.

13- Present

cadeau

Gift or present giving is synonymous with Christmas Eve and the greatest source of joy for children over this festive time! This tradition signifies that Christ’s birth was a gift to mankind, but not all people who hand out presents over Christmas observe the religious meaning.

14- Bell

cloche

On Christmas Day, or Christmas Eve, many religious celebrants enjoy going to church for a special sermon and Christmas rituals. The start of the sermon is often announced with bells or a bell, if the church has one. For this reason, the sound of ringing bells is often associated with Christmas Day.

15- Chimney

cheminée

The chimney is the entrance Santa Claus uses to deliver children’s presents on Christmas Day, according to folklore! Wonder how the chubby man and his elves stay clean…?!

16- Fireplace

cheminée

In most countries where it snows, Christmas is synonymous with a fire or burning embers in houses’ fireplaces. Families huddle around its warmth while opening Christmas presents. Also, this is where Santa Claus is reputed to pop out after his journey down the chimney!

17- Christmas Day

jour de Noël

This is the official day of commemorative celebration of Christ’s birth, and falls each year on December 25.

18- Decoration

décoration

Decorations are the colourful trinkets and posters that make their appearance in shops and homes during the Christmas holiday season in many countries! They give the places a celebratory atmosphere in anticipation of the big Christmas celebration. Typical Christmas decorations include colorful photographs and posters, strings of lights, figurines of Santa Claus and the nativity scene, poinsettia flowers, snowflakes and many more.

19- Stocking

bas

According to legend, Santa Claus places children’s presents in a red stocking hanging over the fireplace. This has also become a popular decoration, signifying Christmas.

20- Holly

houx

Holly is a shrub native to the UK, and parts of Europe, Africa and Asia. It is characterised by glossy, spiny-toothed leaves, small, whitish flowers, and red berries. Ironically, its significance for Christmas relates to Christ’s crucifixion and suffering rather than his birth. However, the leaves’ distinctive shape and image have become popular Christmas decorations.

21- Gingerbread house

maison en pain d’épice

According to legend, the gingerbread house synonymous with Christmas is related to Christ’s birth place, Bethlehem. Bethlehem literally means ‘House of Bread’. Over centuries, it has become a popular treat over Christmas time in many non-religious households as well.

22- Candy cane

bâton de sucre d’orge

According to folklore, Christmas candy canes made their appearance first in Germany in the 16th century. A choir master gave children the candy canes to suck on in church in order to keep them quiet during the Christmas sermon! Apparently, the candy is shaped like a cane in remembrance of the shepherds who were the first to visit the baby Jesus. Today, like gingerbread houses, they are still a popular sweet over the festive season!

23- Mistletoe

gui

Mistletoe is a parasitic plant that grows on certain trees. In the Middle Ages, it was believed that the mistletoe has magical powers, and could protect a household from evil if hung above a door during December. The belief didn’t last but the habit did, and the mistletoe is another popular Christmas decoration!

4. Twelve Days of Christmas

Twelve Days of Christmas

Wow, you’re doing extremely well! You know how to wish someone a Merry Christmas in French, and you learned pertinent vocabulary too! The Twelve Days of Christmas is not very well known in modern times, so, you’re on your way to becoming an expert in Christmas traditions and rituals. Well done!

The Twelve Days of Christmas, also known as Twelvetide, is a traditional festive period of 12 days dedicated to celebrate the nativity of Christ. Christmas Day is, for many who observe Twelvetide, the first day of this period.

‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’ is also a popular Christmas song about a series of gifts given on each day of Twelvetide. According to experts, these gifts were created as a coded reference to important symbols in the Christian church. Here is a list of those gifts mentioned in the song! Do you recognise them?

5. Top 10 Christmas Characters in American Culture

Top 10 Christmas Characters

This is fantastic, you know how to explain almost everything about Christmas in French! However, do you know the most popular Christmas characters in American culture? Your knowledge will not be complete without this list.

6. FrenchPod101 Is One Of The Best Online Language Schools Available!

Visit FrenchPod101!

We don’t just say this - we can prove it! Geared to your personal needs and goals, we have several learning paths from which to choose. From French for Absolute Beginners to Advanced French, lessons are designed to meet you where you are, and increase your language abilities in fun, easy and interactive lessons! Mastering a new language has never been this easy or enjoyable.

We have over a decade of experience and research behind us, and it shows! With thousands of audio and video lessons, detailed PDF lessons and notes, as well as friendly, knowledgeable hosts, FrenchPod101 is simply unbeatable when it comes to learning correct French. Plenty of tools and resources are available when you study with us. New lessons are added every week so material remains fresh and relevant. You also have the option to upgrade and enjoy even more personalised guidance and services. This is a sure way to fast-track your learning!

So, this Christmas, why don’t you give yourself a present and enroll in FrenchPod101? Or give an enrollment as a present to a loved one. It will be a gift with benefits for a whole lifetime, not just over Christmas!

To Do or not to Do on the Beach in France

Learn some French basic phrases to fully enjoy your holidays in France!

Voilà l’été! Ok, not yet…We are only in June but the months of July and August are highly awaited by many, because it is vacation time!

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Do French people like to go to the beach?

Many people take their summer vacations so they can go to the beach. French people usually spend a weekend or even as long as three weeks at the beach.

So if I wanted to go to the beach in France, where should I go?

The most fashionable beaches are on the:

  • English Channel: Cherbourg, Honfleur…
  • Atlantic ocean: Biarritz, Saint Jean du luz…
  • Mediterranean sea: Cannes, Nice, Marseilles…
  • These are the main sea resorts in France, and the destination usually depends on what people want to do.

    The Atlantic side, especially Biarritz, where the waves are big, and it is a surfing spot. There is a famous surfing competition there every summer. All of the Atlantic coast is great for jetskiing.

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    For partying, the French Riviera along the Mediterranean sea is the best. Oui, you can enjoy private beach parties with famous international DJs and if you are lucky, you can make VIP friends who will invite you to night parties on luxury yachts.

    For a family vacation, the north is the place to go if you don’t mind stone beaches and cooler water. The Atlantic is also nice. But be wary of the tides when you go to the beach because in France, they are as fast as a horse running. I don’t know if your horse runs but “tides” in French is les marées.

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    Are French beaches free?

    Most of them are free, but you may have to pay to go to private beaches.

    What should you eat on the beach? Cheese?

    No, we don’t eat cheese! We eat chouchous. Chouchou are peanuts with caramel. There is a guy who yells: chouchou, chouchou! Many people want to sell you things on the beach. Don’t hesitate to ignore them or just say “I don’t speak French” with an American accent, and they will not bother you again!

    What about attitude ?

    Try to not to be loud and noisy. Don’t play music with a sound system as there will be probably one on the beach.

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    What are some other recommendations?

    Keep an eye on your stuff on the beach. Don’t leave your bag alone. French people are nice but you never know!

    Learn some French basic phrases to fully enjoy your holidays in France!

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    French Culture - Assumption of Mary/Assomption

    The Roman Catholic faith recognizes the Assumption of Mary as their customary belief that the Virgin Mary was taken up to heaven physically after her death. It is believed that Mary’s body and soul underwent a unification process and was then transported into the heavens.

    The Assumption of Mary became a day of feasting in celebration of the return of Mary to the heavenly realm. For those who celebrate this festival on August 15th of each year, it is a holy day of their obligations to their faith.

    The Roman Catholic and Christian Orthodox believe that Jesus’ promise that he would go away and prepare a place for his disciples and come back again to receive them into glory, was also referring to Mary’s entrance into the heavens. There are others that don’t believe this dogma and feel that Christ was only referring to his death and resurrection through the cross.

    The word Assumption in the Latin language means “taken up,” and was adopted into the Roman Catholic faith in the fifth century as part of the pledge made by Jesus to fulfill the heavenly ascension of Mary.

    The Assumption of Mary became an established tradition and teaching in the church even throughout the seventh century. It continues to be a theological controversy of historical propensity and the church has not totally embraced its teaching.

    There are still questions today if Mary died before her Assumption or if she was assumed before her death. The Roman Catholic allow both of these beliefs to be considered. The Assumption of Mary is believed to be a gift from God to believers that Mary was the “Mother of God.”

    There are those who believe that Mary finished her life as an example to the human race and made an impact on people who truly believe in God and the role that Christ played when he was on earth.

    The Assumption of Mary is considered to be Mary’s heavenly birthday celebrated by many Catholics every year on August 15th. Her assumption symbolizes the fact that all Christians who endured until the end would experience the same fate as Mary did – ascending to heaven.

    French Culture - Bastille Day

    Each year the French celebrate their national holiday known as Bastille Day and also called Fete Nationale on the fourteenth of July. In July 1789, the prison in Paris was known as the Bastille and held only seven prisoners at the time.

    However, during the French Revolution, the prison was stormed (Storming of the Bastille) and became a symbol of the modern nation’s uprising and the reunion of the French in the monarchy.

    A year later, the anniversary of this momentous occasion was held to recognize the milestone reached after such occurrence.

    The celebrations are held in the morning on the fourteenth of July each year in the presence of the President of the Republic in Champs Elysees Avenue located in Paris.

    The opening of the parade starts with the cadets and infantry troops. The French allies are usually invited to the ceremony as a form of common courtesy. In the past, British troops were invited to lead the parade.

    One of the traditions is to have the students at École Polytechnique work on setting up some type of joke or prank to play.

    Usually, the President of the Republic would be available to the press for interview to discuss the current economic situation of the country as well as future projects that were in the pipeline.

    The celebration continues with a party in the Palais de l’Elysee with the President in attendance.

    This national holiday is usually ongoing during the Tour de France and the French riders use this as an impetus to work harder to win as many medals for France.

    On that day, the constitution allows the President the authority to give pardon to people that have committed mild offences.

    Bastille Day depicts the way that the French felt about the ending of the Revolution and July 14th reminds them of how fortunate they are that the uprising of the monarchy was not long lived.

    The initial celebration in 1790 was a big event with fireworks and a feast that lasted for four days. Since then the French carry on the tradition for one day, but do so with a festive parade.