Monday, 25 November 2013

Talking Hats, Trees and Traditions

Today, 25 November is St Catherine's Day and it's also the date of a famous French tradition which has been held since the Middle Ages, celebrating Catherinettes, the  name for girls of twenty-five years old who were still unmarried by the Feast of St Catherine, the patron saint of single girls.

The Catherinettes would visit church to "cap" St Catherine's statue with a head dress and to pray for a husband.  The young women would create extravagant hats in green or yellow to wear on St Catherine's Day too. Over the years women's status and the importance placed on marriage by a certain age changed so this custom is less popular than in the past.

There are young women who do still take part, including nurses, teachers and hairdressers, often encouraged by their colleagues, like the hairdresser in the clip below.  Her colleagues have secretly made a huge hat for her to wear representing her job and incorporating her love of buying boots and a model of her car.  

Another French tradition that falls on 25 November is " a la Sainte Catherine tout prend racine" or "tout bois prend racine" or in other words, today is a good day for planting trees, bushes and rose bushes in time for next spring.  The snow will fall (it has already this week) covering and protecting the bulbs and saplings during the winter.

It's also said that if it's cold on Saint Catherine's day winter is straight ahead.  "S'il fait froid, l'hiver tout droit."  Well I won't be wearing a chapeau de la Catherinette today but I do have my thermals's cold and the snow will be back soon!!

Do you know of any interesting French sayings and traditions?  Please share in the comments below.

1 comment:

  1. Delia, stopped by your blog and saw this lovely post on hats--and learned lots of things I didn't know, merci!