Brittany has its own special festive legends and traditions associated with this major religious holiday. The Breton word for Christmas is Nedeleg.
The feast of Saint-Nicolas, who after his death was transformed into the legendary character we know as Santa Claus, or Le père Noël in France, falls on December 6.
" Chantons Noël pour une pomme , pour une poire , pour un petit coup de cidre à boire " This translates roughly as: "Christmas, sing for an apple, for a pear, for a little shot of cider to drink"
Their song was rewarded with pennies or candies, presumably they were considered too young to drink!
In Brittany "sabots de noël", Christmas French clogs , were filled with red apples called a "paradise apple" or an orange. Excited children would wake early to find their special gifts on Christmas morning.
By the time twelfth stroke has sounded it returns to its place. Woe to the unwary who, dazzled by the riches revealed, have forgotten the time and are crushed!
The huge buche or "Kef Nedeleg" in Breton was slow burning as it needed to last several days over the festive period. The embers of the log had purported medicinal virtues and were also believed to provide protection against lightning and snakes.
Guests were offered coals in sabots to take with them upon their return home.
Spruce is the traditional Christmas tree in Brittany. In Breton it is called "ar wezenn Nedeleg". Celts dedicated themselves to this tree on the winter solstice and called it "the tree of childbirth".