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Père Noël

Christmas

Père Noël

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Père Noël is the French equivalent of the British Father chrismas and the American Santa Claus. In general, France has not adopted the modern garb of Santa Claus in jacket and trousers, but keeps to the older version with a long red hooded robe, edged with white fur. His presents are carried not in a sack, but in a basket or hotte on his back, like those carried by grape harvesters. He furthermore is believed to live in Lapland. Children do not put out a stocking, but their shoes. A popular Christmas song for children is Petit Papa Noël.

The contemporary Quebec version of Père Noël is identical to the Santa Claus of North America and doesn't inherit its roots from the French tradition but from the English-Canada/US tradition. He lives at the North Pole, Canada-Post answers his mail, he holds court in malls and department stores, has elves making gifts that he delivers with a sleigh and by climbing in through the chimney. He used to have La fée des étoiles as a helper in the malls but she isn't seen as often these days.

Père Noël is sometimes confused with another character. In Eastern France (Alsace and Lorraine regions) there is a parallel tradition to celebrate Saint Nicolas on December 6. He is followed by le Père Fouettard, who exists also in Germany and Austria (Krampus) and in Holland and Belgium (Zwarte Piet). Le Père Fouettard is a sinister figure dressed in black who accompanies Saint Nicolas and whips children who have behaved badly.


Home | Up | Santa Claus | Biblical Magi | Caganer | Christkind | Companions of Saint Nicholas | Ded Moroz | Dzied Maroz | Elf | Father Christmas | Joulupukki | Julemanden | Kris Kringle | La Befana | Moş Gerilă | Mr. Bingle | Mrs. Claus | Saint Nicholas | Olentzero | Père Noël | Santa Claus' reindeer | Tió de Nadal | Tomte | Yule Goat | Yule Lads

Christmas Guide, v. 2.0, by MultiMedia

This guide is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia.