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Colin & Colette, drawing by Jean Hugueny (1800 – 1850) (Photo credit: Blog Rousseau)

Sources: Le Devin du Village, J. J. Rousseau (1752)


This is not another post about Le Devin du village. However, for students who use my posts in their research, I should point out that the 5 December post includes a French overtureItalian-born Lully (28 November 1632 – 22 March 1687) created the French overture.  It also has a link to the complete lyrics.

Christmas is coming

It’s a cold day in Quebec and people are buying gifts and special food. Christmas is still a major event in this province, but it has changed. A long time ago, it consisted of reunions and meals. People celebrated from the 25th (Midnight Mass) until Epiphany, January 6th. They went from house to house, visiting.

In the very old days, transportation was easy. People had horses and sleighs with bells. Moreover, there were no telephones. Guests arrived uninvited, except that one could hear the grelots, the snow bells.

A very long time ago, there was a piano in every house. Singing was extremely important. People sang Christmas carols and other favourites. There were many good singers and Church organists were easy to find.

The four weeks of Advent were spent dreaming. Usually, snow had started to fall in late November or early December, sometimes earlier. I can hear the sound of boots on the hard snow.

When I was a child, gifts were not very important, but my mother and her Belgian friend, Mariette, made gifts for us. They used whatever as at hand. I so loved green that every Christmas, I got a new green dress. Sometimes it was an original design. Mariette had been wardrobe mistress for the Brussels Opera. It took her less than a day to make the dress.

We always attended the Christmas parade bundled up in warm clothes. My mother did not want us to miss out on anything. I was not interested in the Christmas parade. In fact, I had a doll and never played with it. I simply sat her on my bed and I looked at her admiringly. I didn’t want to touch her for fear I would break it.

However, I played my piano for hours on end and read.  We had books. 

Going to Midnight Mass was a magical event.  When we returned home for the réveillon, we put little Jesus in his crib.

So Christmas is coming. There will probably be a family Christmas dinner, but I do not know whether or not I will be invited.

Grigory Sokolov (b. 1950)
“Le Rappel des oiseaux”
Jean-Philippe Rameau (25 September 1683 – 12 September 1764)


© Micheline Walker
6 December 2013
François Boucher (1703-1770)
(Photo credit: Google images)