Despite how innovative the French are when it comes to a lot of things, they're still pretty traditional in other areas too. Especially when it comes to holidays like New Year's Eve. At this time of the year, or rather, the end of the year and the start of a new one, the French do all sorts of traditions to ensure happiness, goodwill, and good luck for the new year ahead. Some are fun and fascinating while others are downright interesting but exciting nonetheless. Here are a few you might want to learn about if ever you'll be in France yourself on New Year's Eve.
A Whole Lot of Kissing
If you thought French social customs
had a little too much kissing now, wait until it's New Year's Eve! When the clock strikes twelve and the new year begins, it's pretty common for the French to start kissing practically anyone on sight. In fact, they follow the tradition of kissing under the mistletoe during the holidays during the New Year instead of Christmas. Of course, with every kiss follows a 'Bonne Année!
' which means 'Happy New Year!' And yes, everyone kisses and gets a kiss. No one escapes the night without having been kissed!
Sending Out Happy New Year's Cards
Another unique holiday tradition that separates the French from the rest of the world is giving out cards. In any other country, you'd normally give out cards during Christmas, right? Although some may write 'Happy Holidays!' to encompass the other holidays the recipient may also be celebrating, more often than not, these cards are sent out during Christmastime. In France, however, they give them out during New Year's Eve or New Year's Day (mostly the latter). They're even mostly specific that the cards are especially for New Year's, not Christmas or any other holiday
during the season.
You may think that drinking champagne on New Year's Eve is simply a luxurious folly that the French popularized and normalized over the years but there's actually more to that. Though the religious aspect of drinking champagne faded after the French Revolution, the French still continued the tradition every year to this day. Since champagne is a luxurious item—'champagne' is actually a protected term under the French government and only sparkling wine made from the historic French region of Champagne is allowed to use the title—drinking it at the start of the year symbolized abundance and joy.
Making Noise at Midnight
If you've ever celebrated New Year's Eve in Paris, you've probably already realized how loud the city can get during this holiday. In some years, even the quieter neighborhoods in Paris
got a little livelier once the clock strikes twelve. They shout, scream, jump, and even set off firecrackers too But why do the French do it? There are actually two reasons. The first is the belief that making noise drives away evil spirits—and in turn, bad luck—away for the upcoming year. The second is that all the joy and liveliness of making noise is a form of celebration for having survived the past year safe and sound.
Galette des Rois on Epiphany Day
The holidays, particularly the New Year, in France don't actually end on January 1st. Celebrations continue up until January 6th, on 'La Fève des Rois
,' or 'The Day of the Three Kings.' More commonly known as 'Epiphany Day,' it commemorates the time that the three wise men, or more commonly referred to as the 'three kings,' finally met the newborn Jesus Christ and presented him with their gifts. And on this day, the French traditionally serve a cake called 'Galette des Rois
,' a crumbly dessert that everyone gets to enjoy, and in one of the slices, a hidden fève awaits the 'king' of the holiday.
You can always trust the French to have a few fascinating traditions during the holidays, especially on New Year's Eve! If you're lucky enough to be celebrating this special day in France, you'll likely have to partake in these traditions yourself!
Though it's not a Frend tradition, getting a luxury home
, while you’re celebrating the holidays here in France, isn't such a bad idea!