Copy of Psalm Book PDF

David & Emily Parmer France

Q: How does your local culture celebrate the seasons of Advent and Christmas? What traditions are common among families and churches? A: We are experiencing an interesting divide this Christmas season. Strasbourg considers itself the capital of Christmas. It’s home to some of the best Christmas Markets in Europe and the biggest Christmas tree in Europe stands in the center square. Walking the streets in December, you’ll find Christmas lights strung across the road, building to building, and huge Christmas trees in every square. You’ll smell roasting chestnuts, sausages, and spiced ciders or wines. The whole city is full of people eager to see the tiny, wooden stalls set up to sell their Alsacien Christmas wares. Many families cross the border into Germany to pick out their Christmas tree from the Black Forest and eat gingerbread while decorating it. However, most of the refugee families we’re friends with are Muslim and will not be celebrating Christmas. A: We’ve learned that the big celebratory feast in each family is usually held on Christmas Eve, rather than Christmas. The French pull out all the stops and serve foie-gras (duck liver), oysters, caviar, escargot, cuisses de grenouilles (frog legs), and many other expensive (read: unusual) dishes. Rather than the older tradition of burning a yule log on their hearths during the meal, they now will eat a log-shaped chocolate swiss roll for dessert. After this cozy meal has finished, the family may stay up late and attend the Midnight mass at the local Cathedral-Notre-Dame-de-Strasbourg. At the mass, the family will take communion, sing songs, and light many candles to represent Jesus as the light coming into the world. While our church doesn’t practice this service, the beauty of Jesus being remembered in a land where He has mostly been forgotten is delightful to us. Q: Is there a specific tradition from your local culture that has particularly delighted or encouraged you? Q: Are there local holiday meals or treats that you particularly enjoy? If able, please share a recipe with us. A: It’s got to be le pain d’epices! Otherwise known as gingerbread. This treat is everywhere in Strasbourg during the Christmas season, even in the decor! You’ll see happy gingerbread men and women placed in wreaths or hanging among the ornaments. We haven’t tried this recipe, but wish you the best of luck trying your hand at it! (

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