Ah, the holidays - a time to break bread and share in the spirit of warmth, generosity and shopping mall madness. Up here in Jumpstreet’s native Québec, the holidays usher in a wide array of festivities. Montréal’s thriving Jewish community, for example, comes to life during the eight days of Chanukah. But like most of the Western World, December in La Belle Province is largely synonymous with Christmas. Ever the bon vivant, we often mark the occasion with a day-long tribute that runs long, long into the night. It’s called Réveillon, and it’s a lot of fun.
Literally translated as ‘awakening’, Réveillon is a French Catholic tradition that dates back to the mid-1800s, when families would break fast and tuck in to a late-night meal after Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve. The event earned its name from the way that the meal would rouse participants after the labours of their day-long fast. Nothing says “rise and shine” like a hearty meal, especially if you’re starving! It’s a tradition that is celebrated in France and Quebec, not to mention countless French communities around the world, from the New Brunswick to New Orleans.
No matter where you’re celebrating Réveillon, your meal is always a reward for the commitment you made to your day-long fast. You earned your feast! In Quebec, Réveillon is a time to savour the tasty traditional dishes that have long been etched into the annals of French Canadian cuisine. Expect lots of pie-based food. If you’re lucky, you might even get to try Cipaille Biron.
Today, Réveillon à la Quebecois is still commonplace. Catholicism doesn’t have even close to the following that it did two Centuries ago, but celebrating Christmas long into the night on December 24th remains popular amongst modern and traditional families alike. For some it’s an ode to our forebears; to others it’s a festive excuse to get family and friends under one roof.
We love Réveillon either way! Nothing says the holidays like good food, great company and a tip of the hat to those who made it all possible.
Wherever you’re reading this from, whatever your celebration might be this December, be safe and have a blast. Happy holidays from your team at Jumpstreet!