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Lesson Transcript

Hello, and welcome to the Culture Class- Holidays in France series at FrenchPod101.com. In this series, we’re exploring the traditions behind French holidays and observances. I’m Matt, and you're listening to Season 1, Lesson 3. Christmas. In French, Christmas is called Noël.
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 listening.
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.
How was this lesson? Did you learn some interesting things?
How do you celebrate celebrate Christmas in your country?
Please leave a comment telling us at FrenchPod101.com,
and we’ll see you next time!

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FrenchPod101.com
Monday at 6:30 pm
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How do you celebrate celebrate Christmas in your country?

Christa
Thursday at 4:39 am
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In America, we often visit Santa Claus at a variety off different places to take photos with him, and we receive present under a christmas tree which we open on christmas eve or christmas day. we feast on both days and spend time with family. If you are religious chances are you might go to a church to celebrate as well.