janvier Le 1er—le Nouvel An
février • Le 2--La Chandeleur (crêpe day) • Used to be “Candlemas” • Tradition is to hold a gold coin in your writing hand and the crêpe pan in the other. If the crêpe lands in your pan when you flip it, your family will have a good year. Le 14--La St. Valentin
En févrierou mars Mardi Gras • Fat Tuesday • Mardi Gras is celebrated more in the US than in France. It came to us when the French settled New Orleans, Louisiana. • The purpose of Mardi Gras is to party and feast before the solemn season of Lent begins.
En mars ouavril • Pâques • Easter is celebrated 40 days (not including Sundays) after Ash Wednesday, the day after Mardi Gras. • On Good Friday the church bells are silent. Children are told they have flown to Rome to see the Pope. • When the bells return on Easter day, they bring decorated eggs and chocolate back with them.
avril • Le 1er--Poisson d’avril • April Fools Day is called “Poisson D’Avril • The origins of the tradition are unknown, but kids put paper fish, like “kick me” signs on peoples’ backs and play other tricks. • Chocolate in the shape of fish is a popular treat.
mai • Le 1er—Le Muguet • Lily of the Valley day—people give lily of the valley plants to friends and family • This is the date of Labor Day in Europe. • La Fête des Mères • In France, Mother’s Day is the last Sunday in May; it’s the 2nd Sunday in May in US.
juin • School ends • High school “seniors” must take a difficult exam called Le Bac in order to go to college; some schools go as late as the beginning of July. • La Fête des Pères • In France, Father’s Day is celebrated the 3rd Sunday in June.
juillet Le 4—la Fête Nationaleaméricaine Le 14—la Fête Nationalefrançaise— Bastille Day • Le 14 juillet 1789 peasants stormed the Bastille for weapons to fight against the monarchy (Louis 16). • Because of many political, social and religious problems and the overspending of Louis 14 & 15, the majority of the French were in poverty, causing them to revolt. • The revolution continued for 5 years, but this date marks the downfall of the monarchy and the beginning of the revolution. • It is celebrated with parades. • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wXsZbkt0yqo
août Les Vacances • Most French people take a month of vacation, usually in August. Many small businesses close during this time.
septembre La Rentrée • School resumes in septembre, after les vacances.
octobre Le 31 octobre—l’Halloween • The French celebrate by decorating pumpkins, eating candy and dressing in costume for parties. They do not “Trick or Treat.”
novembre Le 1er—La Toussaint • All Saints’ Day is a day for French people to remember deceased family and loved ones with a church service or by taking chrysanthemums to the cemetary. • La Toussaint falls within the school fall holiday, so many people take a short vacation or visit family.
décembre Le 25—Noël • The French also celebrate le St. Nicolas (le 6 décembre) by putting out shoes to be filled with candy. • Santa is called Père Noël. He rides a donkey. • Many people attend midnight mass, then have a huge dinner called “le Réveillon. • A very common dessert is La Bûche de Noël or Yule Log cake. • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KwAnG8k1bC4