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Le Père Noël

It was Saint Nicholas who inspired the creation of Santa, or Father Christmas, or Père Noël as he is known in France. Traditionally, it was St Nicholas who brought the presents to children. If you look carefully at the pictures of Santa and Saint Nicholas, you will find the common symbols between the two:

  • the long white beard
  • the Bishop's mitre, which is Santa's hat
  • the red coat
  • St Nicholas had a donkey, Père Noël has reindeer.
St Nicholas
Saint Nicholas
 

Santa

Le Père Noël

French children receive gifts from Père Noël. Père Noël travels with a companion called Père Fouettard who reminds Pere Noel of just how each child has behaved during the past year. Well behaved children receive presents. Children who have behaved badly could be spanked by Père Fouettard.

French children receive gifts from Père Noël. In some parts of France Père Noël brings small gifts on St. Nicholas Eve (December 6) and visits again on Christmas.

French children don't leave out socks, they leave their shoes by the fireplace to be filled with gifts from Pere Noel. They often leave out a glass of wine for Pere Noel and a carrot for the reindeer. In the morning they also find that sweets, fruit, nuts and small toys have been hung on the tree. In some places it is Le Petit Jésus who brings the gifts. Unlike Australia, adults often wait until New Year's Day to exchange gifts.

In some parts of France Père Noël brings small gifts on St. Nicholas Eve (December 6) and visits again on Christmas.

French children don't lave out socks, they leave their shoes by the fireplace to be filled with gifts from Pere Noel. In the morning they also find that sweets, fruit, nuts and small toys have been hung on the tree. In other places it is Le Petit Jésus who brings the gifts. Unlike Australia, adults wait until New Year's Day to exchange gifts.

Santa and sleigh

 

Bienvenue!
 

A "grand repas" at Christmas

     
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