Les Étrennes – A French Tradition
If you are Anglophone and live in France, you may have heard this word and not understood its significance. Even nowadays, les étrennes are still part of French traditions, so what are they?
Les étrennes refer to any gift given at the beginning of the New Year in early January. This tradition goes back to Roman times and is still in use today in French families where small gifts are exchange on the 1st of January. Shopkeepers also may give calendars, diaries, pens etc. but the étrennes are mostly given (in the form of money) to firefighters, postmen and women and concierges to thank them for their help and efforts during the previous year.
So now, you know...