The Pouch: Fêtes en France et Au Canada : A Holiday Interview

Sophia Mattie, The Pouch

For our November/December publication, I sat down with my French teacher, Madame Kern, to discuss
holidays in France and Canada.

Q: What are the traditions of Noël (Christmas)?
A: Very similar to here. Père Noël is the name for Santa Claus; there’s the gift-giving, et cetera. I
think there’s a little bit more emphasis on the night before, so staying up late Christmas Eve,
along with having the celebration le Réveillon, and all traditional foods. One such food is the
Bûche de Noël – you make it in a jellyroll pan and you roll it up; it’s filled with cream, and then
it’s decorated to look like a log. Definitely le sapin de Noël, they also have Christmas trees there,
very traditional. And so, there’s a combination of a lot of western European traditions around
Christmas.

Q: Does France do anything Thanksgiving-esqe?
A: No, they do not. French-Canada celebrates Thanksgiving but that’s more just a virtue of being
part of North America. That’s celebrated on the second Monday in October. So, Thanksgiving in
Canada and in French-Canada is not so much the story of the pilgrims arriving, it’s more just a
celebration of the harvest. And because things get colder so much more quickly in Canada, they
take everything from the fields in September, because the first hard frost is normally at the
beginning of September, around Labor Day.

Q: What’s Halloween like in France?
A: Halloween, like most other things, is starting to get more Americanized. I would say it might
be celebrated here and there a little bit but not very much. They do still celebrate la fête de la
Toussaint, though – All Saint’s Day – which is the following day, November 1st.

Merci, Mme Kern, for the enlightening interview!