Christmas in Lorraine
History and traditions
Saint Nicholas is celebrated throughout several regions of North and Eastern France. He is the Patron Saint of the region, and his relic lies in the basilica of Saint-Nicholas-de-Port; a small village situated a few kilometres from Nancy. Saint-Nicholas day, which is held on 6 December, is highly anticipated by the children of Lorraine. Accompanied by the Père Fouettard; on hand to catch out any trouble makers; he will pay visits to the children of the villages. It’s a chance for good little boys and girls to get their presents and sweets before the arrival of Father Christmas.
Saint-Nicholas celebrations in Lorraine
- 1st December
7.30-8pm : pyrotechnic show in Place Stanislas. A magical show combining pyrotechnics and video projection. A true explosion of colour and light; a perfect way to learn about the tale of the Saint Nicholas.
- 2nd December
Morning performance: Story-time in the museums. A real traditional story-time experience for children; set in 19th Century surroundings recreated in the Lorrain Museum. Entertainment and food is also provided in Place de la Carrière. 5-7pm: Procession through the Old Town, ending at Place Stanislas. Prepare yourselves for a breath-taking display of music and light! With over 30 horse and carriages, this year’s procession will have a historic theme, with a particular focus on the Renaissance.
- December 8
Each year more than 25000 spectators join in the celebrations for Saint Nicholas. Throughout the day, there will be float processions; musical entertainment, as well as the traditional Christmas market. To bring a sparkling end to the day, the show will come to a close with a firework display; and the ceremonial handing over of the town key to Saint-Nicholas. The festivities will commence at 8.30pm at the basilica Saint-Nicholas-de-Port in homage to the Saint himself. Many will gather to keep alive a tradition that is over five hundred years old. A ceremony steeped in tradition, with page-boys in blue bearing the relic of the Saint. The basilica is later plunged into darkness and crowds sing to the relics of the Saint by candlelight.
- December 9
In the town of Metz, the celebrations of Saint-Nicholas also take place in the form of music and processions, with many of the floats designed by the locals. The procession will parade to music through the twinkling street and will end at the Place d’Armes.
- 1st December
Each year in Epinal, more than five thousand people take part in the festivities for Saint-Nicholas. The procession begins at 6pm, with floats and brass bands taking to the streets. The show ends with the mayor awarding Saint-Nicholas the key to the town, under a dazzling pyrotechnic display.
- 1st December
Children and adults come together in true festive fashion to celebrate the patron saint of children. There are three main events throughout the afternoon. At 4pm, a show for children teaching them all about the story of Saint-Nicholas will take place at the Hall des Brasseries. At 5pm, Saint Nicholas and the Père Fouettard will parade through the town to the tolling of the church bells. Accompanied by floats and musicians; more than eight thousand people with patiently await the arrival of the Saint, whilst the wicked Père Fouettard will be on hand to put end to any mischief! At 6.30pm, the festivities will come to an end with a firework display in the gardens of the Hôtel de Ville.
A fairytale Christmas in the “land of lanterns”
30 November to 30 December 2012
From November 30 to December 30 2012, the local council of Moselle organises the display for « A fairytale Christmas in the land of lanterns ». The enchanting installation will put on a display of over four hundred larger than life lanterns inspired from local Christmas folklore. A truly unforgettable journey, bringing to life tales of yesteryear!
Open between 5-7pm on weekdays and 5-9pm at weekends. Entrance is via the rue du Pont Moreau.