Saturday, December 12, 2009

Our Cajun Christmas Traditions

This post is for Amy. I told her that I would share some of our crazy Louisiana Christmas traditions. Back in New Orleans we celebrate Christmas a little different from most of y'all. I made a list of things that we do that you might find a little strange but when is New Orleans not strange?

1.) Instead of Santa Claus we have Papa Noel. Papa Noel lives down in the hot, humid, swampy bayou of Louisiana. He's a Cajun legend and you'll find often momma and daddy's reading books called, The Legend of Papa Noel or Cajun Night before Christmas, on Christmas Eve. We own both books and I've made it our tradition that hubby read them aloud every Christmas Eve.

2.) Santa is pulled in his sleigh by 8 reindeer. But Papa Noel is pulled in a Cajun boat called a, "Pirot" (Pier-O) by 8 alligators. There's Gaston, Tiboy, Pierre, Alcee, Ninette, Suzette, Celeste and Renee. Every Christmas season I make sugar cookies in shapes of alligators. I also make peppermint Fluer De Lis, and Lil Cajuns (they are actually Gingerbread men but we call them Lil Cajuns).

3.) On Christmas evening after a day of festivities we have a big holiday meal. Then we go into the living room to see what Papa Noel left us in our stockings. It makes the holiday cheer last through out the day. Papa Noel usually leaves us a hilarious letter written in Cajun for my husband to read. He has been traveling a long way from the Bayou to Austin the past couple of years so this year he'll be happy to only have to travel to Houston. In our stockings he leaves pralines, Cajun crunch, chocolate alligators, alligator jerky, and hot sauces. My husband collects hot sauces and Papa Noel always seems to find a new one he doesn't own.

4.) When we go back to New Orleans for Christmas we meet our friends on Christmas Eve night and set bond fires on the bayous. This is a fun event in Louisiana because we always run into friends. The purpose of the bond fire is to light up the swamp for Papa Noel so his alligators can see while delivering all those gifts to the boys and girls in Bayou Country.

5.) I love spending the holidays in the French Quarter. Everything is so magical with the Christmas decorations and the gas lanterns. I love all the Christmas Zydeco and Jazz the Quarter is filled with. And we always make it a habit to eat beignets at Cafe du Monde.

Heaux, Heaux, Heaux...
Merry Christmas, Y'all!

So, that's our Cajun Christmas traditions. I would love to hear all about yours.


  1. Sooooo cool and interesting!! I can't believe I have never heard of those traditions! The cookies look yummy!!! I like the idea of waiting to do stockings at the end of the day! And, now I want a beignet!!! :-)

  2. I had never heard of these traditions until after I married my husand and moved to Louisiana. I grew up in California so it was weird at first to get use to the idea of Santa and alligators. But it didn't take long before I dove into the fun and now I couldn't think of celebrating Christmas without alligator cookies and the works. I plan on passing down these traditions to our children too.

  3. Wow so interesting honey! It seems like you lived there your entire life, instead of in California! What fun to incorporate both yours and your husbands traditions for your children! Thanks for stopping by and commenting on my John Stamos post doll. Hope you are having a great weekend! Kori xoxo

  4. Hey doll, I have an award for you over at my blog! Kori xoxo

  5. These are fantastic. So interesting. I never knew about these. Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting on my blog. I really appreciate it. Hope you're having a great weekend. Cheers!

  6. This was so fun to read! I love the tradition of Papa Noel. And all the other neat! Hey, and I remember Cafe du Monde! Are those beignets those things with powdered sugar? They are to die for! Mmm! Thanks for sharing all your Christmas traditions!


  7. I have a question for you concerning some possible New Orleans/Louisiana Christmas folklore. I am a playwright, and considering adapting the O. Henry story "Whistling Dick's Christmas Stocking" for the stage. The story is set in and around New Orleans. In the story, a little girl loses one of her Christmas stockings. She's upset about this because she knows that she needs two stockings -- one for Santa Claus and one for someone she calls Monsieur Pambe who fills the second stocking with things according to the good or bad words she spoken throughout the year. Try as I might, I cannot find any reference to Monsieur Pambe other than in O. Henry's story. Is Monsieur Pambe actually a part of the folklore there, or is it something that O. Henry made up? Hoping you can help me out with this. It would be very much appreciated.