Discover the meaning of New Year Day's and how French People celebrate it.
Updated: May 24
Celebrating New Year's Day is part of the culture in many countries around the globe.
For others, such as China, the New Year is celebrated between mid-January and mid-February.
While Christmas is celebrated with family, New Year's Day is rather celebrated with friends.
How would you wish “happy new year” in France?
There are two ways to wish a person a happy new year in France:
- Happy New Year! (casual)
- I wish you a happy new year! (more formal)
- I wish you a happy new year! (very formal)
New Year's Story
In Roman times, the end of the year was not on a fixed date.
It usually took place in February.
Julius Caesar set the end of the year to December 31.
On the occasion of the change of year, the Romans exchanged coins and medals.
This tradition continues with the New Year gifts given to children.
But it really depends on the families.
On the occasion of the New Year, the Romans were already having big feasts.
The number of dishes indicated the abundance of the coming year.
About ten days after New Year's Day, the Romans organized exchanges of vows on the occasion of hearty meals, which were accompanied by offerings of green twigs and sweets.
This festive period was closed by the circus games.
In France, it is Charles IX who fixes January 1 as the first day of the year, the New Year.
When we talk about New Year's Day, we also mean New Year's Eve.
Saint Sylvester was pope from 314 to 355
This Saint has therefore little to do with the New Year's Day, apart from his name.
Some historians argue that this Saint was chosen only for his name which evokes the forest.
Nature is indeed very important in the symbols and traditions inherited from antiquity.
Saint Sylvester I remains mainly known for his constructions of large Roman basilicas.
Where to celebrate New Year’s Eve?
The location of New Year's Day varies depending on the person's age.
Teenagers will tend to celebrate in a nightclub after an aperitif dinner, while adults, young or not, and families generally have a hearty meal at one of the guests or in the restaurant.
The party continues until the last guest goes to bed.
Meal usually starts late and is scheduled to last until midnight.
How’s it going?
10 seconds before the fateful hour begins the countdown.
Everyone counts out loud.
When midnight strikes, people hug and kiss.
All of this is often accompanied by honking in the street, shouting and chanting.
The New Year is also a time to make good resolutions.
Among these, we often find: stop smoking, spend less time in front of the screens.
What could be yours?
Making good resolutions is above all a pleasure and a desire to take stock of the past year to see what remains to be improved.
Speaking from my own experience, these good resolutions don't usually last long.
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When you will come to my house for a French immersion homestay in Provence, I will be happy to help you discover the different facets of Provence like these ones but also landscapes and perfumes, culture… while helping you improve your French.
À bientôt en Provence !
Virginie In Provence