Every December 31, the inhabitants of many francophone countries gather to celebrate the change of year. It is an opportunity to meet with friends or family around a good meal and follow certain customs. In this article, you will discover the origins of the New Year, the vocabulary related to this celebration, the dishes that are eaten on New Year’s Eve, as well as the traditions of the New Year.

New Year’s Eve dinner in France and Francophone countries

In France, Belgium and Switzerland: On the evening of December 31, people usually gather among friends and sometimes with family for New Year’s Eve, also called New Year’s Eve. In this case, New Year’s Eve is the dinner the evening meal in French spoken in France

and by extension the evening that precedes the New Year/ New Year’s Day, that is to say January 1.

This video can explain it more:

There is no traditional meal for New Year’s Eve, but some dishes usually come back. The guests almost always start by drinking an aperitif often accompanied by champagne canapés, then they sit at the table. As a starter, we eat foie gras, oysters, snails, scallops or smoked salmon. The main course consists of a seafood platter of oysters, langoustines, lobster, periwinkles, whelks, shrimps, white or black pudding, poultry poularde, capon, duck or venison, wild boar. Afterwards, guests are served a cheese platter. For dessert, we often eat a log, composed of a sponge cake soaked in syrup, butter cream, surrounded by a chocolate ganache to remind the bark of a wooden trunk.

Counting seconds and kissing under mistletoe

As midnight approaches, guests begin the count of seconds: 10, 9, 8, 7, 6 5, 4, 3, 2, 1… and shout Happy New Year by throwing party favors confetti, streamers, hats! Soon after, tradition dictates that everyone present kiss under a branch of mistletoe and wish each other good things for the New Year: love, health, success, etc. The custom of kissing under mistletoe is inherited from the Celts and Gaul’s. Symbol of immortality because the plant never loses its leaves, mistletoe was supposed to bring happiness, bring good harvests, fertility and ward off evil spirits.

The shows and the fireworks

On the evening of December 31, major cities usually offer events. In Lausanne Switzerland, an illuminations show reproducing flames is projected on Notre-Dame Cathedral and is followed by a concert. In Quebec City, the city organizes many stands and activities in the afternoon before giving way to a fireworks display and an open-air nightclub! Finally, in Paris, crowds flock to the Champs Élysées to see the sound and light show broadcast on the triumphal arch and the fireworks fired at midnight.

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