Discovering Christmas Traditions in Nice

Discovering Christmas Traditions in Nice

Year after year, Nice transforms into a magical setting to celebrate Christmas, combining traditions, festivities, and conviviality. While some of these customs have gradually faded in the daily life of the people of Nice, it's fascinating to recall these practices that have shaped the city's spirit. Let's delve into this festive atmosphere where Hotel Lakmi, centrally located and close to Christmas events, becomes the perfect place to fully immerse oneself in this celebratory ambiance and reminisce about these traditions.

  • Christmas Swim in Nice

Annually, Nice hosts the Christmas swim along the renowned Promenade des Anglais, drawing hundreds of courageous swimmers. This longstanding tradition, dating back to 1944 post-liberation, continues to be a significant event. Challenging the refreshing waters of the Mediterranean, this symbolic swim serves as a delightful highlight of the city's Christmas celebrations, bringing participants together in a memorable and unifying experience.

  • The Cacha-Fuèc of Christmas in Nice

The magic of December 24th in Nice resides in the enchanted ritual of the cacha-fuèc! Picture this: the fireplace fire extinguishes to make way for a joyful tradition. The eldest family member passes a piece of wood from a fruit tree to the youngest to rekindle the flames. Amidst a festive ambiance, a few drops of wine ceremoniously bless the flames, carrying heartfelt wishes for family reunification in the forthcoming year. It's a magical moment that harmoniously blends tradition, hope, and the spirit of sharing.

Christmas fireplace and Cacha-fuèc tradiction in Nice - Credit Canva

  • Christmas Feast à la Niçoise

In Nice, the Christmas Eve dinner is a lavish affair steeped in tradition, featuring a spread of seven meatless dishes famously called the "gros souper" or lou gros soupà. Picture yourself savoring delightful cod paired with leeks, a rich pumpkin gratin, tantalizing Swiss chard ribs, or exquisite ravioli in walnut sauce. Yet, preparing this sumptuous ritual demands meticulous attention! Three meticulously laid-out tablecloths, wheat and lentils planted during Saint Barbara's Day, and a touch of holly to finalize the ambiance. The first cloth? Reserved exclusively for the Christmas Eve feast! The second? Saved for the following day, featuring meat dishes! And the third? Set aside to honor leftovers on the evening of December 25th.

Photo by Libby Penner on Unsplash

  • The Niçoise Nativity Scene

The Niçoise nativity scene, characterized by its simplicity and rich tradition, portrays the Nativity with baby Jesus, Joseph, Mary, the ox, and the donkey. This simple representation captures the true essence of Christmas. For those seeking a more immersive experience, head to Old Nice! There, you'll discover a charming animated nativity scene offering a beautiful experience as Christmas approaches.

  • The 13 Desserts of Christmas in Nice

In Nice, the 13 desserts of Christmas boast their own distinct flavors, differing slightly from those found in Provence, especially during this festive season. The list isn't fixed, but some delicacies are essential to complete this indulgent ritual. The objective? Reach the number 13, symbolizing Jesus and his twelve apostles.

Among these festive treats are iconic desserts: chard pie, fougasse flavored with orange blossom from Grasse, the oil-rich bread (pompe à huile) that must be broken (cutting it brings bad luck for the coming year !), quince paste, walnut or jam tarts, white nougat, black nougat, dates, candied fruits, dried fruits, mandarins and oranges, as well as poached pears in spiced wine. These varied delights bring a touch of conviviality and sharing to this special moment of Christmas, where culinary traditions blend with religious symbolism to celebrate in joy and indulgence.

Table of 13 Christmas desserts in Nice - Credit Canva

  • The Empty Place at the Table

During Christmas celebrations in Nice, a unique tradition endures among the most traditional Niçois: an empty place is purposefully set at the table for "lou paure," a Niçoise term encompassing both "the poor" and "the departed." This practice symbolizes a heartfelt invitation to those no longer physically present but cherished in our memories. By leaving an empty plate and an unoccupied space at the table, the people of Nice affectionately remember the moments shared with them in previous Christmases.

In Nice, winter is a time rich in surprises and traditions to discover. After the Christmas celebrations, it's time for the excitement of the Nice Carnival, an unmissable event that extends the magic of the winter season. Hotel Lakmi, situated in the heart of this excitement, becomes an ideal starting point to immerse yourself in this festive atmosphere and discover all the pleasures that Nice offers during this period.

Bouoni Calèna and Merry Christmas to all!