Christmas in France: St. Nicholas’s Day
French children eagerly await St. Nicholas’s Day, December 6. In honor of the generous saint, adults often give children gifts of candy and other treats. Since St. Nicholas is the patron saint of Lorraine, the people of that province celebrate his feast day with processions. These processions include men dressed as the saint in long robes, bishop’s hats, and crosses. Père Fouttard, or "Father Whipper,” usually follows behind Nicholas. The children recognize Père Fouttard by his dirty, dark robe, greasy, grey beard, and whip. While St. Nicholas rewards children who have been good, Père Fouttard punishes children who have misbehaved (see also Black Peter).