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Popular celebrations in France

By Jean
Reading Time: 3 minutes
celebrations in france

France is a country known for its rich culture, and its calendar is filled with unique and vibrant celebrations. From historical traditions to modern festivities, there’s always something to experience. There a many celebrations in France all year round and for international students planning to live and study in France, immersing in these celebrations is a fantastic way to understand and enjoy French culture.

Here’s a guide to the most popular and major celebrations in France, ordered by the calendar year:

New Year’s Day (Jour de l’An) – January 1

New Year’s Eve, or “Saint-Sylvestre,” is celebrated with grand feasts, fireworks, and parties. French people enjoy a festive meal called “Réveillon de la Saint-Sylvestre,” often featuring champagne and dancing, to welcome the new year with joy and optimism.

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Epiphany (L’Épiphanie) – January 6

Epiphany, celebrated on January 6th, marks the visit of the Magi to the Christ child. In France, it’s known for the “Galette des Rois” (King’s Cake), a delicious pastry with a hidden charm inside. Whoever finds the charm becomes the king or queen for the day, making it a delightful tradition for families.

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Chandeleur (La Chandeleur) – February 2

Chandeleur, or Candlemas, is celebrated on February 2nd and is known as the day of crêpes. It’s a fun tradition where families gather to make and eat crêpes, symbolizing the sun and the return of light as winter nears its end.

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Valentine’s Day (La Saint-Valentin) – February 14

Valentine’s Day, or “La Saint-Valentin,” is a romantic celebration where couples express their love through flowers, chocolates, and intimate dinners. France, known as the country of love, offers plenty of romantic spots and events for this special day.

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celebrations in France

Mardi Gras (Mardi Gras) – Date Varies

Mardi Gras, or “Fat Tuesday,” is a festive season of parades, masquerade balls, and delicious food, marking the end of Carnival. The Carnival of Nice is one of the largest carnivals in the world, taking place in February. For two weeks, the city of Nice turns into a playground of parades, floats, and entertainment.

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April Fools’ Day (Poisson d’Avril) – April 1

April Fools’ Day, or “Poisson d’Avril,” is celebrated on April 1st with pranks and jokes. A popular tradition is sticking paper fish on people’s backs as a playful joke. It’s a light-hearted day that brings laughter and fun to everyone involved.

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Easter (Pâques) – Date Varies

Easter, or “Pâques,” is a significant celebration marked by church services, family gatherings, and delicious chocolate eggs. In some regions, children participate in egg hunts, while families enjoy festive meals together.

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celebrations in France

Mother’s Day (Fête des Mères) – Last Sunday of May or First Sunday of June

Mother’s Day, or “Fête des Mères,” is a special occasion to honour mothers with flowers, gifts, and family gatherings. Typically celebrated on the last Sunday of May or the first Sunday of June, it’s a time for families to come together and express their love and gratitude.

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celebrations in France

Christmas (Noël) – December 25

Christmas, or “Noël,” is a magical time with Christmas markets, festive decorations, and traditional meals. From the lights of Paris to the Alsace Christmas markets, each region has its unique way of celebrating this joyous holiday.

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Get Ready for All Celebrations in France

Celebrations in France offer a rich array of cultural experiences, from historical traditions to joyful festivities. Each celebration holds a special place in the hearts of the French people and reflects the diverse facets of France’s heritage and values.

As a language student in France, you need to know these dates as your language school might prepare a special event so you can also experience France’s most popular celebrations with your classmates, teachers, and all the school.

If you’re eager to learn more, or if you need personalized assistance in mastering the French language and its nuances, don’t hesitate to contact us.

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