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Christmas in France: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Jennifer Lowery

Jennifer has taught elementary levels K-3 and has master's degrees in elementary education and curriculum/instruction and educational leadership.

Christmas is a holiday that millions of people celebrate all over the world in many different ways. In this lesson, learn how the French enjoy special foods and traditions during the Christmas season.

Vive la France!

Have you ever wondered how people around the world celebrate Christmas? Many traditions may be similar to what you are used to, but there are many unique ways that people around the globe experience the holiday season.

Let's learn about how the European country of France enjoys this important December holiday!

Le Réveillon

What would a Christmas celebration be without food? Don't worry, the French enjoy plenty of treats to celebrate the holiday but they might sound a little strange to you!

On Christmas Eve, many French families have a special dinner called Le Réveillon, which means 'the eve' or 'the night before.' Common dishes served include seafood such as oysters and salmon. Lots of people like to eat escargot, which are snails, during Le Réveillon dinner!

How would you like snails for Christmas dinner?
French food

Do you like dessert? If so, you'll love the French tradition of 'Thirteen Desserts.' As part of the Christmas meal, there are exactly 13 desserts that are served. The number 13 is important because this represents Jesus and the twelve apostles, or early followers. While the desserts that are served may differ from family to family, the number always stays the same.

Religious Celebrations

Christmas is a Christian holiday, so there are many traditions that are based on Christian beliefs and references to the bible. The holiday is to celebrate and honor the birth of Jesus, and there are many ways that Christians honor this event.

In France, many people practice a type of Christianity called Catholicism. On Christmas, many Catholics go to Mass (the Catholic church service) at midnight. On Christmas Eve, Catholics throughout France go to cathedrals, or large churches, to participate in this holy ceremony.

Many French Catholics go to midnight mass on Christmas Eve in large cathedrals like Notre Dame.
Cathedral

Traditional Decorations

If you travel to France during Christmas, you will see many decorations that are similar to what you see in America. Christmas trees and lights are used to decorate homes and also to make city streets and squares look festive.

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