Rituals and customs in Marseille
The calendar (calendal) period starts from the 4th of december with ‘sainte barbe’ and stops on the 2nd of february, ‘ jour de la chandeleur’ (candlemas day). A lot of celebrations happen in between this two dates everywhere in Provence.
La Sainte Barbe :
On the 4th of december , the ritual is to plant wheatseeds in three recipient with humid cotton and will be located in front of the ‘crèche’ (the nativity scene). In order to buy some little bags with wheatseeds, you need to go to many bakeries in Provence.
Nativity scene and clay figurines:
“Dans une boîte en carton sommeillent les petits santons…” (In a cardboard box, small clay figurines are sleeping) as heard in one of Tino Rossi’s songs. Little Christmas clay figurines show how the nativity scene is organized and intoduce little by little the characters involved.
More information on the clay figurines
Christmas markets :
As in the Alsace region, Provence has many christmas markets in different towns and villages. Local products are sold by craftsmen. Quite often, you will be able to enjoy a cup of mulled wine.