The first Advent Sunday
The beginning of the Christmas period. Advent lasts for the period that includes the 4 Sundays before Christmas. It is a time of penitence and the beginning of a period of fasting and reflection to prepare for Christmas. Advent used to be announced in the street, with pipes and tambourines.
On this day, wheat is sown in three ‘seitouns’ (saucers), to represent the Trinity. Watered generously and placed near the hearth, the wheat should be thick and green by Christmas, when it is placed on the table for the ‘Gros Soupa’.
‘On the Feast Day of Saint Lucy, winter’s grip starts to loosen’…to accompany the lengthening days, the shop windows, balconies and windows are lit with candles and lanterns.
31st December: the Feast Day of Saint Sylvester
People stay up until midnight in order to ring in the New Year and kiss under the mistletoe. The following day, the 1st January, nobody goes to work, and absolutely nobody does the dishes! Children often go to wish their parents and close friends a Happy New Year and receive New Year gifts.
The Three Wise Men, travelling to see the baby Jesus arrive, and pipes and tambourines announce their arrival to the village.
To celebrate, we ‘tire les rois’, meaning we eat a brioche crown in their honour, containing candied fruit and a ‘fève’. The youngest sits under the table and chooses the portions given to each guest. The ‘king’ has to bring a cake to the next meal.
This marks the end of the Christmas period, the nativity scene is taken down and the santons are put away.
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