2015 Holidays in France
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New Year’s Day
New Years eve is called la Saint-Sylvestre and is celebrated with another feast le Réveillon de Saint-Sylvestre traditional foods include foie gras and champagne. At midnight it's traditional to kiss under the mistletoe and exchange wishes and new years greetings.
Many people in France start New Year's Day at midnight while celebrating with friends or family members. Public and private fireworks displays are common. Many people drink champagne, sparkling white wine or hot wine (vin chaud). People generally spend the rest of the day quietly.
Public life is generally quiet in France on January 1. Post offices, banks, stores and other businesses are closed. Outside of tourist areas, restaurants and cafes may be closed.
Good Friday (le Vendredi saint) (Alsace & Lorraine only)
Good Friday is an occasion for many Christians in France to remember the sacrifices Jesus made and his crucifixion. It is a public holiday in some parts of France.
- Easter Sunday - April 5, 2015 (le Dimanche de Pâques)
Many Christians may attend special church services to celebrate Jesus' resurrection on Easter Sunday. Church bells are rung for a long time and in a celebratory manner curing the church services on Easter Sunday. These are known as the Easter bells.
Many people spend Easter Sunday with family members or friends and eat a festive meal. Roast lamb with spring beans or other freshly harvested vegetables or leaves, brightly colored boiled eggs and omelets are popular. Easter eggs made of chocolate or candy are popular gifts and children are told that Easter hares, rabbits or bells bring the gifts.
Public life is generally very quiet on Easter Sunday, as on other Sundays, in France. Post offices, banks, stores and other businesses are closed.
PUBLIC HOLIDAY: April 6, 2015 Easter Monday (le Lundi de Pâques)
Traditionally, Easter egg hunts start when the church bells ring on Easter morning and you will find this practised in many towns and villages giving great joy to children of all ages.
Many people spend Easter Monday quietly with family and close friends. They may spend time outdoors to enjoy the spring weather. If children are present, they are often allowed to participate in decisions for family activities and meals.
Public life in France is quiet on Easter Monday. Post offices, banks, stores and other businesses are closed. Outside of tourist areas, restaurants and cafes may also be closed.
PUBLIC HOLIDAY Wednesday, May 1st, 2015 - Workers' Day (Fête de Travail)
May 1st is a commemoration of the sucess of the American Unions in achieving an eight hour working day (in 1886.)
Manifestations are organised by the unions to celebrate and symbolise the unity of the workers.
May 1 is also La Fête du Muguet, and the tradition is to give the ones you love a little bouquet of lily-of-the-valley, for good luck and to celebrate the arrival of spring. Originally the idea was to pick your own muguet in the forest. Of course, in the city you will more likely buy it from the florist's, or better yet, from one of the countless stands that sprout up overnight on every street corner and every road in France, most of them doing this as a fundraiser for one cause or another.
PUBLIC HOLIDAY, Wednesday, May 8, 2013 - WWII Victory Day (Victoire 1945)
Commemoration of the end of the Second World War (in Europe).
Public Holiday: Thursday, May 14, 2015 - Ascension Day (Ascension)
40 days after Easter, this holiday celebrates Jesus's ascension to heaven following his crucifixion and resurrection. Mass is celebrated in churches and cathedrals throughout France.
Ascension Day falls on a Thursday so many people take a day of their annual leave on Friday and so enjoy a four-day weekend. They often use the opportunity to take a short vacation.
PUBLIC HOLIDAY Monday, May 25, 2015- Pentecost (Pentecôte)
Many Christians in France attend a special church service on Pentecost Sunday to celebrate the Holy Spirit's descent on Jesus Christ's followers. People blow trumpets during the service in some churches.
Public Holiday: Tuesday, July 14th - Bastille Day (Fête Nationale)
Bastille day symbolises the end of the Monarchy and the beginning of the First Republic. It is celebrated with parties and spectacular fireworks all over France. You'll find village fete and fireworks all around Caussi. Great fun.
Public Holiday: Saturday, August 15, 2015 - Assumption Day (Assomption)
Celebrated by Catholics throughout France, the feast commemorates the departure of Mary from this life and the assumption of her body into heaven.
Regardless of religious orientation, the day is observed as a national holiday during which many shops and businesses may be closed.
Public Holiday: Sunday, November 1, 2015 All Saints Day (Toussaint)
It is traditional for the French to visit the graves of their loved ones and decorate them with Chrysanthemums.
Many Christians visit special church services on All Saints' Day. All Saints' Day is also an opportunity for many people to spend time with family members and close friends. This holiday falls during the autumn (fall) school holidays, it is a popular time for families to take a short vacation or to visit relatives living in other areas.
Public Holiday, Wednesday, November 11, 2015 - Armistice Day (Jour de l'Armistice)
Armistice Day is observed on 11 November to recall the end of World War I on that date in 1918. (Major hostilities of World War I were formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918 with the German signing of the Armistice.)
Public Holiday: Wednesday, December 25th - Christmas Day (Noël
An important part of Christmas for many families in France is Midnight Mass on Christmas eve. Following this there is Le Réveillon a late supper feast; in some areas oysters are traditional while in Burgundy it's traditional to serve Chestnuts and turkey.
The Bûche de Noël or Yule log is very popular and is traditionally made with chocolate and chestnuts, it is served all through Christmas.
A christmas tree is traditional along with a traditional nativity scene. Small presents are generally given to children on Christmas eve but main gifts and cards are exchanged on New Years day.
*French Public Holidays falling on a Sunday are celebrated on the following Monday with the exception of Easter Sunday and Whit Sunday, which always fall on a Sunday. No time off in lieu is granted when a Public Holiday falls on a Saturday.
**When a Public Holiday falls on a Tuesday or a Thursday, it is very common to take the Friday or Monday off to create a long weekend (“faire le pont”). Many businesses, especially the smaller ones are therefore closed for the entire period.