Celebrating Easter in France is very much a part of the French culture, and many of the French Easter traditions directly relate back to the fact that much of the country (about ninety percent) considers itself Roman-Catholic. Whether they are truly practicing Roman Catholics or not, Easter is a major holiday celebrated by all.
The Easter-chocolate season begins weeks before the actual date. French people start celebrating it by exchanging chocolates with friends, family, and of course they do give a lot of chocolates to the children — In Paris a traditional cake representing an Easter egg nest is prepared in many pâtisseries and when they appear in their windows we know that Easter is around the corner.
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PRAYER CHAIR or PRIE DIEU
A prie–dieu (French: literally, “pray [to] God”, plural prie–dieux) is a type of prayer desk primarily intended for private devotional use, but may also be found in churches. … The prie–dieu appears not to have received its present name until the early 17th century. It is intended to be knelt on where one can place a book or their elbows for prayer.
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The Wonderful French Dough Bowl
When it comes to Christmas, the first thing we think of is home and all the smells that associate us to our home and the holidays. Part of those familiar smells might just be the baking of bread.
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Like the Rue Monge market area in PARIS FRANCE,
our shops are in full swing for the Christmas Holidays! We received a new container this past week and will receive another French container in the next week or so — just in time for you to shop with us and purchase that special gift for Christmas!
Wine and champagne glasses are customary with a French Christmas Eve or Christmas Day meal — Our culinary shop, Aubergine Antiques, carries both and we have plenty in stock now.
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SANTONS or “LITTLE SAINTS”
What we Americans typically associate with Christmas might be a creche and the beloved Nativity Scene — in France, in particularly Provence, there is the Nativity along with other Santons and the creche (from Old French cresche “crib, manger, stall,”). In France, just like in North America the creche is a model or tableau representing the scene of Jesus Christ’s birth, displayed in homes or public places at Christmas.
The origins of the santons of Provence can be traced back to the French Revolution, circa 1789. With the Revolution, churches became “property of the French state” and, in 1793, the national assembly decided to close all of the churches. Nativity scenes were banished and forbidden. One would look at the blade of the guillotine if found with a nativity set or found making one.
As events in history preclude a tradition or how it initiates a new tradition, it will often times fall short all together OR as the old and new merge the tradition will manifest more strong and vibrant – even still today. This is evident in the Nativity and non-religious Santons. Unknowingly the “diminutive” santon became a child of the French Revolution and it’s worth noting that santons were also a way of preserving religion.
Continue reading “Santons de Provence – A French Christmas Tradition”