Christmas 2016 in Provence
« Alègre, Diou nous alègre Cacho fio ven, tout ben ven ; Diou nous fagué la graci de veïre l’an que ven, Si sian pas mai que siguen pas men »
All good things come, the grace of God lets us see the coming year;
May there be no fewer of us even if some are no more.
Blessing of the log, a ceremony held on Christmas Eve
Christmas tradition in Provence
Did you know? People in Provence set a Christmas table on Christmas Eve, with three tablecloths and a candle-holder with three candles. The three tablecloths symbolise the Holy Trinity, while the three candles the past (to honour one's ancestors), the present (to demonstrate one's loyalty to one's loved ones) and the future (with the hope of future happiness). The Large Supper comprises seven dishes symbolic of the Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary fish, meat and vegetables are mostly served. A nifty melange of pagan rites and Christian rituals!
"Santon" fairs and creches
Did you know? Pierre Graille was a santonnier (effigy-maker) in Grambois, Luberon, but with a difference. He used to immortalise his friends and other locals as santons, so that the church creche came to be a reconstitution of the congregation! The village church pays tribute to him every year.
Did you know? Many of the traditional Christmas carols sung in Provence were written by Nicolas Saboly, a poet, composer and Christmas caroller born in Monteux in 1614. Locals know "Les Noëls de Saboly" well, including "La Cambo me fai mau", "La marche des rois" and "Coupo Santo", which was later to become the Provençal anthem, with lyrics penned by F. Mistral.