Read about the origin, history and celebration of New Year (Jour Des Étrennes) in France.
Fundoo Times: Festivals: New Year: New Year in France

New Year in France

Origin and History of New Year in France

New Year is celebrated on January 1st with great pomp show in France. Earlier, New Year (which was also known as La Saint Sylvestre) was celebrated on the 25th March each year. In the year 1582, the French adopted a reformed calendar and started celebrating New Year on 1st January, like most Westerners. Presently New Year is celebrated till January 6th and the event ends with the ceremonial cutting of a special type of festive cake. The type of cake varies from place to place in France. The occasion is also known as Jour des Étrennes, which is considered as one of the oldest festivals celebrated in the country. People are highly thrilled to bid farewell to the preceding year and welcome the approaching year.

Local name: Jour Des Étrennes

Ways to celeberate Jour Des Étrennes in France

New Year is enjoyed by celebrating a special New Year feast called le Réveillon de Saint-Sylvestre. The banquet includes customary dishes like pancakes, foie gras (flavored duck or goose) and champagne. The French believe that a special dinner when prepared on this occasion will bring prosperity to the house. New Year celebration means also includes dinning and partying hard with near and dear ones. In South Western France, people attend the evening mass and participate in the torchlight procession. It is considered a tradition to head the procession towards the vineyards for mulled wine. They also greet each other by gifting goodies, cakes and greeting cards on this day. French consider New Year as an auspicious occasion to present gifts than any other festival. Various cultural programs are also organized on this day.