From celebrations of national holidays and special days to unique customs and cultures, France offers a unique experience for children. Its culture is known for its richness and diversity and as a result, some of the French traditions that kids love have been passed down from generation to generation. From its delectable cuisine to its vibrant festivals, France is a country filled with centuries of traditions and experiences that children will cherish for a lifetime. This article will explore the French traditions that children find wonderfully captivating.
From the humble croissant to the tremendously indulgent chocolat chaud, France has a rich and diverse culinary history that children can enjoy.
One of the longest-standing food traditions in France involves crepes, both sweet and savoury. Crepes are typically made in the morning or during the evening at the market, and children can often find them served with cheese and ham, or sweetened with sugar and Nutella.
Kids can help to make their own crêpes, and fill them with their favorite combinations of course. This classic French cultural tradition is one that is enjoyed by both kids and adults alike!
The French crêpe is a thin pancake that has been popular in France since at least the 12th century. In its most basic form, a crêpe is made of a simple batter of flour, milk, eggs, and melted butter. The batter is poured on a special type of griddle called a “crêpière” and quickly cooked on both sides, resulting in a light and flexible pancake that can easily be filled with a variety of sweet or savory fillings.
The precise origin of the French crêpe is unknown, but it is believed to have developed originally in Brittany, a region of northwestern France. The traditional Breton crêpe is made without milk and is often filled with salted butter and thick local ciders. Over time, the crêpe spread throughout France and became a staple of urban and rural communities, adapted to a variety of local tastes and ingredients. Today, crêpes are popular across France as a breakfast food, street food, or dessert and can be filled with sweet or savory fillings. In addition, the crêpe has become a mainstay of French cuisine and can be found in high-end restaurants across the country.
Another food tradition that children adore is fondue, a savoury dish of melted cheese, and is usually served with crusty baguettes and vegetables.
The fondue tradition is said to have originated in Switzerland in the late 18th century, when a shortage of fuel for cooking left people looking for ways to use whatever ingredients were on hand. Cheese and melted cheese dishes, as well as croutons, would be added to a pot and heated over an open flame. Eventually, pieces of bread and potatoes would be dipped into the hot cheese or melted butter. The popularity of fondue increased over time throughout Europe and eventually became popular in the United States in the 1960s.
La galette is a type of cake or pastry found in many regions of France. It can vary from region to region, but usually consists of a base made of either puff pastry or breton pastry and topped with a variety of fillings, such as almond cream, apples, prunes, or chocolate. It is often served during New Year’s Eve and Christmas, as well as other occasions.
The galette des rois tradition is believed to have originated in France and dates back centuries. The tradition can be traced back to the Middle Ages when merchants presented it to French royalty to celebrate the Epiphany (the celebration of the arrival of the three Wise Men). The traditional galette contains a small figurine or “feve” (bean) hidden inside. The person who finds the feve is believed to be the “king” or “queen” of the day.
For kids, attending a festival or carnival is also a cherished tradition. From the famous Fete de la Musique in Paris to smaller regional fètes, these events offer plenty of opportunities to dress up, go on rides and sample local delicacies.
A festival of the beginning of spring, usually celebrated in late March to early April. This typically includes traditional French dances, food, and crafts. It is a fun way to incorporate a bit of French culture into your child’s life.
An annual festival celebrated for the memory of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, Pâques is an important holiday for French families. During this time, many families will dye eggs, go on egg hunts, and nibble on chocolate bunny crafted by artisan chocolatiers.
This annual holiday marks the anniversary of the storming of the Bastille, the beginning of the French Revolution. Kids can learn a bit of French history while also participating in parades, concerts, and fireworks events that usually mark Bastille Day celebrations.
Historically, Bastille Day marks the storming of the Bastille fortress-prison by the people of France and set into motion the French Revolution.
The Bastille was originally built in the 14th century as a fortress-prison and was used by the monarchy in France to punish their political opponents. It became a symbol of the monarchy’s power and oppression in the 17th and 18th centuries.
In 1789, the people of France rose up in rebellion against the monarchy. On the morning of July 14th, the people of Paris marched to the Bastille, laid siege to the building, and freed the seven prisoners who were being held there. This event marked the beginning of the French Revolution and was the symbol of the people’s struggle to overthrow the monarch’s oppressive rule.
Today the storming of the Bastille is remembered with parades, fireworks, and festivals across France on July 14th, Bastille Day. Every year, the French President makes a traditional speech on the day, followed by a celebration and fireworks display at the Eiffel Tower.
The Fête de la Musique is a French celebration of music which takes place every year on June 21st. The date marks the beginning of summer in the Northern Hemisphere. This day is also the summer solstice, which is when the sun is at its maximum elevation in the sky, providing hours of daylight for enjoying music outdoors.
The holiday was established in 1982 by Jack Lang, the French Minister of Culture at the time, with the goal of making music accessible to everyone. The event is celebrated all over France and celebrated with live music performances in parks, squares, and public spaces. The celebration has since expanded through Europe and the world, and is now celebrated by more than 300 cities. It has come to represent an annual celebration of music and culture, a phenomenon that allows everyone to appreciate music regardless of skill and fashion.
Another French tradition that many kids look forward to is the classic Sunday afternoon family stroll. This can consist of a leisurely walk through a local park to visit with friends, or a more intensive hike up a mountain trail. Either way, the chance to get out into nature and spend quality time together is an experience all French families enjoy. Additionally, parents might also take the chance to teach their children about unique plant and wildlife that populate the area. The importance of preserving these natural areas is an important lesson for French children.
In France, Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday, is the final day of the Carnival celebration just before Ash Wednesday. Traditionally, the day is filled with parades and other festivities, most notably the city’s largest ball which is held in Nice, France on the Promenade des Anglais. There, people from all parts of the world come to dance and revel in the pre-Lenten festivities.
Mardi Gras (also known as Fat Tuesday or Carnival) is an important festival celebrated in France that occurs the day before Ash Wednesday. There are many activities available for kids to enjoy during Mardi Gras, including parades, dancing, music, street theatre and food.
One of the most popular events in Mardi Gras is the Grand Parade. Many towns in France hold their own parades and feature marching bands, dancers, clowns and elaborate floats. Kids will enjoy the colorful costumes, clowns and other fun aspects of the parade.
Mardi Gras is also celebrated through dancing. Traditional French dances such as the farandole, the saltarello and the bourrée can be performed by kids, and traditional music is often performed during Mardi Gras parties. In some places, a dance called the “Round of Kings” is also done, in which the invited kids form a circle and dance around the “King” or “Queen” of the circle.
We hope this article was helpful in giving more insights into French cultural traditions that kids are fond of. At Bilingual Bebe we make it a priority to not only immerse children in the language but also French culture knowledge. Through small group classes, children get the benefits of conversing in the language and share about their culture and personal attach to the language with friends from around the world. A much more valuable and enriching experience that a one on one session.