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Added by January 3, 2012

bonne annee french happy new yearWhat, you got lazy and didn’t send any Christmas cards this year? Good news! You still have time to grab pens and papers and start showering your friends with beautiful greetings. The French actually send out greeting cards the whole month of January!!

You’ll never guess how the tradition first started… The French stole the idea from their darling friends… the British!! Well, actually, the real origins of the ‘Cartes de voeux’, take us back to ancient China and Egypt where people would scribble their greetings on what looked a bit like today’s business cards. They would physically deliver the cards themselves – the postal service being what it was at the time…

Around 1840, the British came up with that wonderful little invention called ‘a stamp’ and quickly stopped visiting their so-called “loved ones” and other acquaintances – too tiresome!! Instead, they started mailing Christmas cards. The tradition was adopted by most European countries. 

happy new year french bonne annes

As to the French, up to the early 1900s, they continued to both pay a formal visit to relatives, colleagues and even to their bosses but also to send greeting cards, for the New Year rather than Christmas though. Today, visits are not so common anymore! Actually, children are working hard to keep up thetradition since that day can be a very productive one for them because of another tradition the French originally got from the Romans: “les étrennes”. On January 1st, Children go around wishing adults (relatives and whoever they can think of), a ‘Bonne Année’!! The grown-ups, touched by the thoughtful gesture, happily go to their purses to give the little ones their ‘étrennes’ (in other words, money!). The cute and innocent little beings can thus start the year with a big smile of their faces.

Having said that, the OhLaLaFrench team wishes you all a fantastic new year, free of charge!!!


french happy new year bonne anew


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