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Provence food, lifestyle and Mediterranean living magazine.

Perfectly Provence Travel Lifestyle Magazine

Almost a year ago, we turned the calendar to a new decade, a leap year, and an Olympic year...2020 will be a year to remember. However, December arrives like a sturdy bookend, delivering annual festive traditions that endure the test of time regardless of climate, politics and viruses.

To celebrate the season, we are running a special holiday giveaway with our partner Rose et Marius for four (4) lucky winners - here are the details.

Christmas celebrations in the South of France center around family and food and will continue if only on a smaller scale this year. Whether the marchés de Noël are allowed to open or not, you can always make vin chaud and gingerbread (pain d' épice) at home.

December 4th is the Feast of Sainte Barbara (Sainte-Barbe). On this day, tiny packages of wheat seeds, sold at markets and in bakeries, are planted. To "plant" the blé, the grains are placed on a wet paper towel or cotton. With the right mix of sun and water, the wheat germinates in the weeks before Christmas. The sprouted wheat is placed on a Provençal holiday table to signify the promise of a fruitful and safe year ahead.

On Christmas Eve, families gather for the gros souper (big supper) and many desserts. A typical Provencal December 24th menu is on the lighter side, although not insignificant, with seven fish and vegetable dishes. The number of dishes represents Mary's seven sorrows. After midnight mass, it is time for the 13 desserts, nothing to do with a baker's dozen but rather the number of participants around the table at the Last Supper; Jesus and his 12 apostles.

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Enjoy the season,

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