If it’s Friday, it must be France …
Every year the holiday season seems to roll around a little faster! Do you find that as well?
Winter is coming, as we saw from those unbelievable photos of lake-effect snow in north-western New York a few weeks ago. That was jaw-dropping! If you happened to miss it, click here for more images.
In France things are calmer, although there’s been way more rain than is necessary lately. The majestic Alps that form a backdrop behind Nice are snow-capped, although the ski resorts are still waiting patiently for a bountiful delivery, or at least colder temperatures, from Mother Nature. If you want to keep in touch with the ski conditions on the slopes around Nice, click right here.
Calendales (from the provencal word for Christmas), began on December 4 in France, on Saint Barbara’s Day or la fête de la Sainte-Barbe. This marks the beginning of a lengthy period of celebration that blends Christian and pagan traditions.
In most homes and shop windows, on the counter at la Poste, on the bar in all the cafés and even in the windows of the patisseries, saucers of sprouting lentils and wheat seeds will be on display.
Excerpt from Promises To Keep: “Joy had explained on the phone. “It’s a tradition that goes back to Roman times. The sprouts are carefully nurtured, and if they grow straight and green, there will be a bountiful harvest in the coming year. If they go yellow or droop over, then that’s bad news. Some of the wheat is used to decorate tables and crèches on Christmas Eve, but most bunches are wrapped with a red ribbon and cared for right through to la Chandeleur, la Fête de la Lumière, on February 2.”
My friend and favourite French language instructor, Ida Chiara Young, has instructions on her Facebook page if you want to grow your own little crop.
Christmas markets in France are well under way, many with ferris wheels and skating rinks as well as the ubiquitous, decorative carousels. Enticing aromas of mulled wine and roasting chestnuts fill the air.
This photo is from Place Massena in Nice and was sent to me by my friend, Teresa, who is enjoying the holidays there with her husband. Her Facebook page, French Provençal With A Twist, is a “must” to follow for all Francophiles. The photography and links are magnifique! I pop in every day.
When do you begin your holiday celebrating? Is there a special Christmas market in your town? If you have a Christmas tree, is it already up and decorated? I’ll be going back to Toronto next week and am looking forward to visiting the Christmas market in the Distillery District, shown below. It’s always a treat! Bon weekend tout le monde!