Yesterday the mince pies turned out O.K. (yay!) and I distributed them to the other 4 neighbours in our lane. It reminded me of 3 years ago when I invited them all around for an apero to introduce ourselves - puzzled looks all round. Oh well, that old keyring with my name on it that said: '....always does more than is required...' still rings true for me.
The theatres all around the country enact little plays called crèches, displaying clay figures known as ‘santons’ or 'little saints.' Those that do decorate their houses fix tiny red Father Xmases climbing up the outside of their houses. Whilst some regions celebrate today, in the eastern and northern regions, festivities began on 6 December, known as ‘la fête de Saint Nicolas’. In southern France, ‘Le pain calendeau’, a particular type of Christmas loaf, is distributed among the poor and the needy people.......where's my bread basket, so I can stand in line???
It's possible that all was quiet yesterday as people attended ‘la Messe de Minuitor’ or the midnight mass held at our nearby church. I'm told that after the midnight mass, the whole family enjoys a late supper known as "le réveillon" where traditional dishes like buckwheat cakes with sour cream, oysters, foie gras, turkey, chestnuts and tasty wines such as Muscadet, Anjou, Sauterne and Champagne are served. Not much hope for my mince pies then! It's certainly true that these French traditions present a wonderful overview of French culture and their unique way of celebrating this festive season.
Whatever your faith, whichever your country, however you plan to spend today, my message is simple: 'Good health and peace to everyone in the World'.