Wednesday, January 04, 2006

French New Year's Traditions

Christmas is a family time in France; New Year's is a time for friends, but also a season of formalities among colleagues and acquaintances. Upon going back to work after the Christmas and New Year's holidays, it is de rigueur to kiss just about everybody you know on the cheek -- three times in Aveyron -- and wish them a happy New Year and all the best. Discussions of the holidays follow, and the whole process takes up an amazing amount of time. Managers make an effort to seek out their employees to bestow their "meilleurs voeux" on them; sometimes this takes the form of an official "voeux" ceremony, complete with speeches and a toast.

I am more aware of this aspect of New Year's in Aveyron than I was in other areas I have lived in, but the weight of tradition in all aspects of life is heavy here.

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