Holidays make the 12 months extra enjoyable in any nation. As a traditionally Catholic nation, France’s holidays are carefully aligned with the Catholic calendar. It’s not all about faith, although; some days present alternatives to recollect solemn occasions in days’ previous, whereas others give room for these with a humorousness.
Beneath, we’ll check out the total calendar of French holidays in 2024. Whether or not you’re planning a visit to France or celebrating the vacations at residence, you’ll discover ways to honor every vacation the French approach.
Able to take your language abilities to the following stage? Studying French received’t simply show you how to deepen your cultural data—it’ll join you with an entire new group of individuals. Rosetta Stone’s enjoyable, bite-sized classes may help you do all of it by yourself schedule. Be taught extra about holidays in France beneath, after which dive proper into your first Rosetta Stone lesson.
Full listing of French public holidays
Have a good time the vacations in type. Beneath, you’ll discover each public vacation in 2024:
- January 1 – Nouvel An (New 12 months’s Day)
- March 29 – Vendredi Saint (Good Friday)
- April 1 – Lundi Pâques (Easter Monday)
- Might 1 – La Fête du Travail (Might Day)
- Might 8 – Fête de la Victoire de 1945 (Victory in Europe Day)
- Might 9 – L’ascension (Ascension Day)
- Might 19 – Pentecôte (Pentecost)
- July 14 – La Fête Nationale (Bastille Day)
- August 15 – L’assomption (Assumption Day)
- November 1 – La Toussaint (All Saints Day)
- November 11- L’armistice (Armistice Day)
- December 25 – Noël (Christmas)
- December 26 – Saint Etienne (Saint Stephen’s Day)
Then, there are the enjoyable holidays. They may not be honored with a time without work work, however they’re culturally vital and completely value celebrating:
- January 6 – Épiphanie (Epiphany)
- February 2 – Chandeleur (Candlemas)
- February 13 – Mardi Gras (Fats Tuesday)
- April 1 – Poisson d’Avril – (April Idiot’s Day)
January 1 – Nouvel An (New 12 months’s Day)
Much like traditions in america, France rings within the new 12 months with events, champagne, and fireworks. The most important celebration in Paris is by the Eiffel Tower. Meals related to the vacation embrace foie gras, oysters, and different native specialties. It’s common to eat out of an elaborate fifteen course meal. Kissing at midnight is customary and regarded good luck for the approaching 12 months!
January 6 – l’Epiphanie (Epiphany)
Epiphany takes place twelve days after Christmas and celebrates the three kings’ arrival to go to child Jesus. Although not a public vacation, it’s religiously and culturally vital to the French Catholic group. A very powerful French Epiphany custom is consuming La Galette des Roi (The Kings’ Cake), a spherical puff pastry full of almond creme and a small figurine known as a fève hidden inside. Historically, the youngest baby within the household hides underneath the desk whereas the cake is served and whoever finds the fève is claimed to have good luck for the 12 months!
February 2 – Chandeleur (Candlemas)
Chandeleur, also referred to as Candlemas, is a part of the Catholic calendar, however the non secular significance doesn’t have a lot to do with how the vacation is widely known at this time. It takes place 40 days after Christmas to commemorate the presentation of child Jesus to the temple. It additionally signifies the tip of winter! Like Epiphany, Candlemas will not be a public vacation.
French folks honor Chandeleur in one of the best ways one can have a good time a vacation: with loads of crepes. It is a custom that goes approach again. Each the round form and the golden colour of crepes symbolize the solar. Pope Gelasius I is claimed to have popularized the usage of crepes within the fifth century when he gifted galettes to the lots throughout a candlelit procession in Rome.
There are a number of regional superstitions across the vacation. Some say that sunshine on Chandeleur brings dangerous luck for the remainder of the winter, others say the other. It’s additionally conventional to carry a coin in your dominant hand and cook dinner the crepes along with your non-dominant hand. If you happen to efficiently flip a crepe within the pan along with your non-dominant hand, it’s mentioned to carry good luck for the remainder of the 12 months.
>> Pair your crepe-making abilities with these 100+ must-know French phrases.
February 13 – Mardi Gras (Fats Tuesday)
Mardi Gras is probably the most exported French vacation custom. Most North People affiliate it with New Orleans, however it’s a standard vacation in Metropolitan France and different locations with a historical past of French presence. It’s historically an extravagant feast earlier than Ash Wednesday and the contemplative, fasting season of Lent. In some areas, Mardi Gras is a small affair with wealthy fatty meals. In others, it’s a full-blown pageant with parades, costumes, and partying within the streets.
March 29 – Vendredi Saint (Good Friday)
Good Friday, which commemorates the day Jesus was crucified, is often a time without work work in France. Working towards Catholics often go to a somber mass on at the present time, however for everybody else it’s a time without work work earlier than Easter.
April 1 – Lundi Pâques (Easter Monday)
Easter Sunday is among the most vital Catholic holidays. It’s a very huge deal in France to spiritual and secular communities alike. They have a good time for 2 days, Sunday and Monday. Dinner is often rooster or lamb and chocolate bells, eggs, and rabbits are hidden as treats. France doesn’t historically have an Easter Bunny, however some northern areas have began utilizing it not too long ago. Their kids’s legend is that church bells ship the treats on their approach again from Rome. Mardi Gras, Ash Wednesday, Palm Sunday, and Good Friday are additionally celebrated round Easter.
April 1 – Poisson d’Avril (April Idiot’s Day)
In North America, we all know to maintain our guard up on April Idiot’s day, lest we fall sufferer to a barrage of pranks. In France, they have a good time it just a little otherwise. Poisson d’Avril actually interprets to “April Fish.” Although different varieties of pranks are allowed, the most typical is to stay a paper fish on another person’s again and watch for them to note.
This custom comes from the origins of April Idiot’s, in 1684 when King Charles XI moved the beginning of the 12 months from April 1 to January 1. Individuals continued to present their family members presents on April 1 as they might have if it have been nonetheless the brand new 12 months. Fish have been a typical reward for the reason that day usually falls throughout lent, when Catholics don’t eat meat. Over time, the literal fish have been changed with symbolic fish and the presents received sillier.
>> France takes its meals critically! Take a look at these hilarious French food-themed idioms.
Might 1 – La Fête du Travail (Might Day)
France, together with most international locations in Europe, celebrates the labor motion on the primary of Might. America is the odd one out for celebrating it in September (a way of distancing the vacation from its Communist origins).
For the reason that French love staff’ rights and protests, they take Might Day very critically. It is among the few days when all companies shut. Commerce unions arrange demonstrations for staff’ rights and different causes and 1000’s of individuals attend. Additionally it is conventional to present family members lily of the valley bouquets to carry them good luck within the remaining spring season.
Might 8 – Fête de la Victoire de 1945 (Victory in Europe Day)
Also referred to as Jour de la Liberation, this vacation marks Germany’s give up in Reims, France in 1945, which ended World Conflict II on the European entrance. It’s a somber vacation for honoring each the troopers who died within the warfare and the victims of the Holocaust. In Paris, the President of the Republic lays a wreath on the tomb of the unknown soldier on the Arc du Triomphe and a navy parade down the Champs Elysées follows. Different cities have related somber parades on a smaller scale.
Might 9 – L’ascension (Ascension Day)
Ascension Day celebrates Jesus’ ascension into heaven 40 days after Easter. It at all times takes place on a Thursday. The non secular significance of the vacation has turn out to be much less vital to the French public as they’ve turn out to be extra secular, however they do benefit from the time without work. Many companies additionally shut on the next Friday, although it isn’t an official public vacation, giving their workers a four-day weekend.
Might 19 – Pentecôte (Pentecost)
Pentecost takes place 50 days after Easter, commemorating the day the holy spirit descended upon the apostles and precipitated them to talk in tongues. Throughout Pentecost weekend, 1000’s of religious Catholics stroll 100 km from Notre Dame de Paris and Chartres Cathedral for the Notre-Dame de Chrétienté pilgrimage. Many French households eat veal on Pentecost, however this can be a pretty new custom. It originated with a “ veau de la Pentecôte” marketing campaign from the agricultural sector to encourage veal consumption throughout slaughter season. The next Monday is a time without work work, so non-Christian French communities can benefit from the day despite the fact that they don’t have a good time it.
July 14 – La Fête Nationale (Bastille Day)
France’s fête nationale commemorates the storming of La Bastille on 14 July 1789, which was the start of the French Revolution. Nevertheless, solely English audio system name it Bastille Day. In France, it’s extra generally referred to as Quatorze Juillet (referring to the date) or La Fête Nationale. In Paris, the day features a navy parade down the Champs Elysées, fireworks, music in parks, and free entry to museums.
August 15 – L’assomption (Assumption Day)
Assumption Day is a Catholic vacation celebrating the day when Mary ascended to heaven based on custom. Catholics attend a particular mass that day. Everybody else merely enjoys the lengthy weekend. Like all public holidays in France, most companies are closed, not simply those with a 9-5 schedule.
November 1 – La Toussaint (All Saints Day)
All Saints Day is a Catholic vacation to honor the entire saints within the canon. It’s a public vacation in France when many households get collectively to honor deceased family members. The most typical ritual is to put chrysanthemums at relations’ graves. The flower symbolizes grief, particularly in France. The truth is, it’s a fake pas to present them in some other context.
November 11- L’armistice (Armistice Day)
France celebrates the tip of World Conflict I on the identical day that we in america know as Veteran’s Day. Like Jour de la Liberation, it’s a somber vacation with navy parades, ceremonies, and reflection on those that have died in wars.
December 25 – Noël (Christmas)
Christmas, in fact, is the opposite most vital vacation within the Christian calendar. Like in america, it’s celebrated by many secular households as effectively. French households usually eat a small Christmas Eve dinner at midnight to have a good time the start of Christmas day. Youngsters depart their footwear by the hearth for Père Noël. The standard Christmas Dinner foremost course is roast turkey or goose. The most well-liked dessert is bûche de Noël, a sponge cake log.
December 26 – Saint Etienne (Saint Stephen’s Day)
Saint Stephen’s Day is the day after Christmas and honors the primary Christian martyr. French Christians go to a somber church service to honor his life. It’s a public vacation within the Alsace-Moselle area, however not in the remainder of France. Additionally it is a preferred buying day due to the post-Christmas bargains.
Get to know France even higher with Rosetta Stone
Who doesn’t love celebrating the vacations? Whereas sure holidays are greatest celebrated of their nation of origin, a lot of the customs above might be simply integrated into your traditions at residence.
If you wish to deepen your understanding of French tradition, Rosetta Stone is right here that will help you. Studying French may help you construct connections with the folks and locations you’re keen on! Plus, our bite-sized classes make studying enjoyable and immersive—it’s approach extra gratifying and efficient than memorizing flashcards or textbook chapters. Why wait?
Written by Luca Harsh