The Provencal Christmas is tinged with religious traditions on which closely combines references to daily. The nursery in Provence, with its santons, expresses perfectly the multiple references. The tradition of Provence made last Christmas 40 days, the Sainte Barbe the Candlemas.
In effect from December 4 that are available in homes Provencal a small saucer crash in which one lens or wheat. The first shoots used to decorate the nursery, while symbolizing prosperity of the family for years to come. The former expressed hope that by saying "When lou Blad vèn bèn, vèn bèn" (where the wheat comes well, everything comes good). When Christmas come to an end, wheat then replanted on the edge of a field already seeded to promote the next harvest. In the Var, tradition also wanted to retain a little of this wheat, which once dried, would be thrown into the fire of the chimney evening thunderstorm.
But Christmas in Provence, it is also setting up the crib, representing an ideal village. Invented in the twelfth century in Italy by St. Francis of Assisi, the nursery will become an inescapable element of the tradition of Provence from the seventeenth. It has all the elements of everyday life: houses, bread ovens, sinks, the mills ... And as santons, figurines of land that symbolize all trades of Provence.
Lou Cachio-Fio: this tradition is to ignite a log of wood. The master of the house pays three times on the log (from a fruit tree) of wine, pronouncing a blessing in Provence. Then, accompanied by the youngest of the family, it will be three times around the room before going to finally drop the log in the fireplace. ( "hid" light "fio": fire)
The big dinner: The "big dinner" of the Christmas Eve is paradoxically composed of seven dishes scarce, in tribute to the seven sorrows of Mary. It presents vegetables, soups, and fish with the Anchoïade. The meat is forbidden.
The thirteen desserts: With the fougasse, nougats and seasonal fruit is served dried fruit, symbolizing the four mendicant orders. We give details on this page on recipes of Provence.
Prior to these delicacies, Provencal will have met the Midnight Mass, which will take place Pastrage ceremony, presentation of a lamb on the altar, accompanied by stories of shepherds.