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Bonfires on the Levee
While I know that Louisiana is not the only place that has bonfires, we do make a big deal out of it. It has been years since I have been to one. We used to go every year on Christmas Eve to the bonfires. They line the levee along the Mississippi River, some in Ascension and St. John Parishes, the greater majority being in St. James Parish. But why bonfires?
This is according to Emily Chenet Guidry:
For example, one of the more recent and increasingly popular explanations is that the bonfires were a "Cajun tradition", first used to light the way for "Papa Noel", the Cajun version of Santa Claus. This charming version, although improbable, has been depicted annually in front of a Paulina, LA business establishment where a levee scene shows "Papa Noel" with his pirogue drawn by alligators named Gaston, Ninette, "Te-Boy", Celeste, Suzette, etc.
Now, according to me, I think the popularity of bonfires in South Louisiana is just an excuse to have a party. But whatever the reason, they are a fun way to spend a Christmas Eve.
Here's wishing everyone, no matter what there Christmas traditions may be, a Joyeux Noel.
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Thanks, Sharon, for the great description of one of our peculiar traditions. And you are totally right.....another reason for a party.
I love bonfires. I bet it is amazing to see the bonfires lined up along the levee.
Laura has a sweatshirt with pictures of all sorts of animals playing musical instruments such as an alligator playing a fiddle. Caption says,"Help support Louisiana wildlife. Throw a party."
Bailey, it is an amazing sight. The bonfires are built in all different shapes, some just the plain pyramid, but I have also seen ships, cabins, and lighthouses.
Sounds like a great tradition Sharon! We used to have a bonfire on homecoming night in high school, but they don't have them anymore! It's sad because it was so much fun for us. I also love bonfires! I bet it is even more fun seeing them in all different shapes!
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