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Christmas in Avignon

Discover the scintillating atmosphere in Avignon, all dressed up with sparkling lights for the Christmas holidays!

Throughout the entire month of December, enjoy the atmosphere of Christmas in Provence, here in Avignon, the City of the Popes!
Throughout Avignon, parades and shows, performances, Père Noël, a large crèche, the Christmas traditions in the kitchen and dining room, skating rink - to the delight of all ages.

A lot of different events are offered in Avignon restaurants and hotels, cabarets, night spots and cultural venues. A festive and fun New Year's Eve awaits you!

The festivities called the ‘calendales’, begin on the 4th of December on Saint Barbara’s Day and end with Candlemas on the 2nd of February – a forty-day period that blends Christian and pagan traditions.

For more information: http://www.provenceguide.co.uk




The festive table called « TABLE CALENDALE » is dressed the 24th of December with three tablecloths placed one on top of the other and three candelabra to commemorate the Trinity and there is always an extra place setting for a poor person. People settle down around the table to share the dinner called the « Gros Souper » : a light meal with cauliflower, cardoons, celery, artichokes served with pressed olive oil or anchovy paste « anchoïade », some dried or salty cod or « alose » fish caught in the Rhône river.


The « 13 DESSERTS » symbolize the Last Supper and are served at the end of the meal : light and dark nougat, a flat Provençal bread with olive oil called « fougasse » or « pompe à huile », candied fruits, dates, mandarins, the four ‘mendiants’ - walnuts, almonds, dried figs and hazelnuts, representing the four major religious orders – grapes, apples and prunes. When it is time to leave for Midnight Mass, tradition demands that one turns up the four corners of the tablecloths to stop the spirits from dirtying the table.




The period before Christmas, also called Advent, is the occasion to decorate the Christmas crib which will only be taken down at Candlemas. Tradition says that one adds a new ‘santon’ to the crib each year.


THE 4TH OF DECEMBER, FEAST OF SAINT BARBARA On this day, one sows wheat and lentil seeds in saucers covered with fresh moss – or cotton wool – moistened with a little water. When the grains germinate, they put out nice green shoots, which symbolize the future harvest. If there are a large number of shoots on the 25th of December, the harvest will be good. If not, the crops will be poor.

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