The Thirteen Dessert Tradition / Réveillon!
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What is the tradition of thirteen desserts?
"The thirteen desserts are the traditional dessert foods used in celebrating Christmas in the French region of Provence. The "big supper" (le gros souper) ends with a ritual 13 desserts, representing Jesus Christ and the 12 apostles. The desserts always number thirteen but the exact items vary by local or familial tradition. The food traditionally is set out Christmas Eve and remains on the table three days until December 27."

Dried fruit and nuts
"The first four of these are known as the "four beggars" (les quatre mediants), representing the four mendicant monastic orders: Dominicans, Franciscans, Augustinian and Carmelites."

Raisins (Dominicans)
Walnuts or hazelnuts (Augustines)
Dried figs (Franciscans)
Almonds (Carmelites)
Dates, representing the foods of the region where Christ lived and died
Dried plums from Brignoles

Fresh fruit
Apples
Pears
Oranges
Winter melon
Grapes
Tangerines

Sweets
Biscotins (biscuits) from Aix;
Calissons d'Aix, almond-paste pastry with sugar icing (marzipan)
Candied citron
Casse-dents of Allauch (biscuit)
Cumin and fennel seed biscuits
Fried bugnes
Fruit tourtes
Oreillettes, light thin waffles
Pain d'epice
Pompes à l'huiles or fougasse à l'huile d'olive, a sweet cake or brioche made with orange flower         water and olive oil
Quince cheese/quince paste (Pâte de coing)
Yule log

Two kinds of nougat, symbolizing good and evil
Black nougat with honey (Nougat noir au miel), a hard candy made with honey and almonds
White nougat (Nougat blanc), a soft candy made with sugar, eggs, pistachios, honey, and                     almonds
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Réveillon
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
"In France and some other French-speaking places, a réveillon is a long dinner, and possibly party, held on the evenings preceding Christmas Day and New Year's Day. The name of this dinner is based on the word réveil (meaning "waking"), because participation involves staying awake until midnight and beyond. In Portuguese-speaking countries, it is also a designation for the party preceding the New Year's Day."

Food
"The food consumed at réveillons is generally of an exceptional or luxury nature. For instance, appetizers may include lobster, oysters, escargots or foie gras, etc. One traditional dish is turkey with chestnuts. Réveillons in Quebec will often include some variety of tourtière."

Dessert may consist of a bûche de Noël. In Provence, the tradition of the 13 desserts is followed: 13 desserts are served, almost invariably including: pompe à l'huile (a flavoured bread), dates, etc.

Quality wine is usually consumed a such dinners, often with champagne or similar sparkling wines as a conclusion.

Differences
"There are certain traditional differences of character between the Christmas and New Year's Day réveillons."

"Christmas is traditionally a Christian occasion, celebrated within the family, and this family character is retained even among non-believers."

"The New Year's Eve, or Saint-Sylvestre, réveillon, on the other hand, is commonly a party with friends, etc. People may also go out to a cabaret show, or watch live relays of such shows on television."

References
http://www.provenceweb.fr/e/mag/terroir/traditions/ukindex.htm
http://www.culture.gouv.fr/culture/noel/angl/treize.htm
http://www.travel-provence.com/thirteen-desserts-of-christmas.htm
http://www.avignon-et-provence.com/provence/13-desserts/index-gb.html
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Resources:  This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses some material from Wikipedia/article 13d/revelli and other related pages. Top photo: homestead stock

Other Traditional Foods for the Holidays
Christmas Dinner Around the World
Traditional "Christmas Eve" Supper
Traditional Christmas Food
Traditional Easter Foods
Traditional Thanksgiving Food
Traditional Halloween Food
Traditional New Years Food
Traditional St Patrick's Day Foods
Traditional 4th of July Foods
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