TRIVIA TUESDAY! As we have lived here, we have discovered more and more about the amazing history and culture of France and Paris. I (Glen) am generally interested in trivia, and I love to share what I learn here. As such, this is my first installment of a trivia Tuesday blog, and I hope you will come back often to learn tidbits and factoids about this amazing place where we live and serve. To kick of this blog series, read below about the French and their views on Halloween.
Today is October 31st, and we have enjoyed seeing many of our friends posting pictures of their kids doing some trick-or-treating in their array of costumes. Almost amazingly, our girls had the same opportunity this past Saturday. Before diving into our experience here, what do the French do for Halloween?
For the vast majority of French people…nothing. Even for those who get involved, this holiday is viewed as a foreign tradition and trick-or-treating is almost non-existent as parties are held instead. As you might imagine, there are certainly some who hold antagonistic feelings toward this foreign holiday making an incursion into the French culture. Even so, we have witnessed businesses putting Halloween-themed decorations in windows in the past couple of weeks, and stores have certainly tried to feature things like pumpkins more.
Instead of all of this, most French will recognize November 1st as the more important holiday. In English we call this holiday “All Saints’ Day,” and the French call it “La Toussaint.” This is an official banking holiday, meaning that many stores and almost all government offices are closed. Additionally, this always takes place during a nation-wide Fall break from school, so it is a great time to take a short trip and/or see family. Traditionally, those who recognize this day will place flowers on the graves of loved ones and attend special services at Catholic churches.
So Halloween may be a much more American holiday than French, but there happen to be a lot of Americans who live in and around Paris. One business that is popularly known among Americans is Boneshaker Doughnuts. Obviously the French make wonderful pastries, but it is hard to find good doughnuts, so many Americans go to Boneshaker from their American chef. This past Saturday Boneshaker organized a trick-or-treat opportunity with other businesses near them, so the girls were able to dress up and go get some candy. Unsurprisingly, almost all the trick-or-treaters were English speakers, but we loved having the opportunity to continue this family tradition in a small way here in Paris.
(Below is a picture of Boneshaker Doughtnuts and the map they handed out for this fun event.)
While I am excited to share trivia with you, there are some facts you should know which are anything but trivial. In France the population is 66,000,000 and less than 1% identify as Evangelical Christian. We are here to help change this.