What Are Some French Canadian Christmas Traditions?

Some French Canadian Christmas traditions include réveillon and buche de Noel. There are also several traditional French Canadian Christmas hymns, such as "Noël Tout Blanc" and "Noël Des Bergers."

French Canadians focus their Christmas traditions on Christmas Eve. They go to Midnight Mass and afterward have the réveillon, a late night Christmas feast. In the past, French Canadians traditionally served lighter fare at this meal, such as spiced meat pies and biscuits. Today, the meal includes dishes often served for Christmas dinner including lobster, oysters and tourtiere, which is a traditional, spiced meat pie. It is made with salmon, pork or game and spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and clove.

After dinner, a buche de Noël is served for desert – a cake shaped like a Yule log. The children are allowed then to open a few stocking gifts. The rest of the presents are saved for opening on New Year's Day. On Christmas Day, families spend time together.

Christmas traditions for English Canadians differ in many ways from those traditions celebrated by their French neighbors. For instance, Christmas festivities occur on Christmas Day rather than on Christmas Eve. Early-morning gift giving is followed by church service. Christmas night brings a feast of roast meats and other goodies.