New Year's Eve in France 2024

Until New Year's Eve in France are 224 days, ie 7 months and 10 days.

In 2024 New Year's Eve in France is on December 31st (tuesday).

New Year's Eve seems to be celebrated everywhere in the same fashion, yet there are some specific traditions, which are peculiar to the French. Let's take a look at the New Year's customs cultivated in France.

Réveillon de la Saint Sylvestre

The date of the modern celebration of the New Year in France is related to the so-called Edict of Roussillon, which was signed in 1564. Charles IX was disturbed by the fact that the New Year in his kingdom is celebrated in December, March and even during the time of Easter. The first New Year's Eve celebrated throughout France on the first of January took place in 1567.
There is an interesting fact, connected with the celebrations of New Year's Eve in France. Those type of celebrations bear a specific name: Réveillon de la Saint Sylvestre. The word réveillon comes from the Latin word "vigilare" (vigil meaning eve). Sylvester (Sylvestre) was the pope with whom the history of the name of the holiday is related.

New Year's preparations

Before New Year's Eve, the women (but not only) prepare cakes and dishes that will be on the table during the party. As we all know, French cuisine has very rich traditions. When it comes to cakes, served during the New Year's Eve dinner, it should be noted that these are not ordinary pastries. Decorated with special ornaments related to the winter season, they look curious. Pagan beliefs, present in the culture of many European countries, including France, play an important role here. The aforementioned decorations in the form of bells are related to folk superstition, according to which loud sounds were meant to scare away evil spirits

New Year and French cuisine

The cuisine is a very important component of French identity. In France, the celebrations of New Year’s Eve are directly related to the country's traditional dishes and drinks. Before it's time for New Year's Eve snacks, French families tend to eat a hearty, multi-course dinner. They often consume the goose. Interestingly, and unusual for us, during the dinner preceding the New Year's Eve party, the French eat oysters (les huitres), crustaceans, sea urchins and other types of seafood. It is also customary to consume a variety of snail dishes. This custom seems to be more French-like.
When it comes to champagne, one thing may surprise foreigners. Often the word "cremant", which is present on the bottles of sparkling wine, seems to replace the word “champagne.” It is not champagne- but why?... "Champagne" has been a protected name since 1891. Only the vineyards of the region, bearing the name of the famous liquor, can produce it and label it with a well-known, famous name the French are so proud of.

When midnight strikes

When it strikes midnight and the New Year sets in, the French open the champagne. Its consumption is often accompanied by a starter, which is a traditional French dish of foie gras. Traditionally, New Year's celebrations are accompanied by the consumption of a huge variety of wines, which abound in France. The arrival of the new year is accompanied not only by toasts but also by singing traditional songs. Perhaps the most popular of them is “The song of a New Year” (Chanson du nouvel An), the lyrics of which are an adaptation of a poem by the Scottish poet Robert Burns. Singing can be pleasant, but New Year’s Eve celebrations consist not only of that. When midnight strikes, the French shout and make noises in every way possible. It is generally believed that with the coming of the New Year it is necessary to do so because such behaviour wards off evil spirits. A popular custom also kept in France and connected with this belief, is, of course, releasing fireworks. The noises connected with it are so mighty, that it seems evil spirits should be scared away and afraid to return.

What happens after midnight?

Interestingly, there are no fancy firework shows organized by the city authorities in Paris. Parisians and inhabitants of other parts of France make those colourful, pyrotechnic displays on their own. The shows are more private because fireworks are often set off from the gardens and backyards. There is another thing that may surprise the people, which are not familiar with the cultural background of the French. In the homeland of champagne, Christmas cards are sent rarely and this custom does not interfere with the tradition of sending cards related to new year’s celebrations and greetings. Those types of cards can be obtained not only shortly before the arrival of the new year but throughout the month.

Other years

Day of the weekDateName of holiday
SaturdayDec 31st, 2022New Year's Eve in France 2022
SundayDec 31st, 2023New Year's Eve in France 2023
WednesdayDec 31st, 2025New Year's Eve in France 2025
ThursdayDec 31st, 2026New Year's Eve in France 2026
FridayDec 31st, 2027New Year's Eve in France 2027
SundayDec 31st, 2028New Year's Eve in France 2028
MondayDec 31st, 2029New Year's Eve in France 2029

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