Réveillon Dinner

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This is also done in French Canada. My mother would prepare food all day, including tortiere, little canapés made with pate in aspic, various meats, pickles and preserves, and sugar pie. We no longer do midnight mass, but this Christmas Eve feast is an ongoing tradition that everyone looks forward to.

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Reveillon was also common in N.H., ME, and VT when French-Canadian/American families would fast until midnight Mass and after they returned from Mass would be served a wonderful meal of Cretons (Pork rillettes), Tourtieres (Pork and often game pie) with sides of potatoes, pickles, relishes, vegetables and desserts, along with Canadian Whiskey,cigars and Brandy. It is a vivid memory, especially as a child, because we got to open a few gifts before going to bed at 3:00 a.m. Our relatives would come from surrounding towns and Canada to enjoy it and spend Christmas Day with us!

My wife is French Canadian and I had the opportunity to participate the first Christmas we spent in Montreal. Not all the family went to Mass, but enough did to “delay” the dinner until all had arrived–from everywhere?

Oh, yes, how well I remember! My parents were strict Catholics, so we couldn’t eat anything before Christmas Eve service/mass. The idea was to take the body & blood into a “pure” (i.e. empty) stomach. Since it was also Advent, my mother wouldn’t let us put up the Christmas tree until after midnight. We had to wait to eat until after Communion and then we spent most of the rest of the night putting up the tree.
Got to bed around 5 am.