The Provençal nativity dates back to the 18th century and is a Christmas nativity scene with traditional Provençal characters and santons (santoun, meaning “little saints” in Provençal) all inspired by local life.
The big supper
In Provence, “le gros souper” (lou gros soupa) is the special family meal served before midnight mass on Christmas Eve.
The nativity play
Performers reenact the nativity in a stable.
The 13 desserts
The “treize desserts” or “calenos” served after the big supper: Nuts, dried fruit, raisins, dates, quince paste, candied fruit, pompe à huile (olive oil brioche) or fougasse, classic white nougat, black nougat (with caramelised honey and toasted almonds), red nougat (with rose and pistachios), Aix-en-Provence calissons, oranges, clementines or mandarins, watermelon.