In Louisiana, the winter holiday season is a time to celebrate our families and friends, past and present, with big meals, centuries-old traditions, and the bright light of community spirit. Here are a few Louisiana holiday traditions that bring Louisiana together with open arms all season long.
Celebrate the Season With These Louisiana Festivities
All Saints’ Day, or La Toussaint
Based heavily in Catholic traditions, “La Toussaint” or All Saints’ Day is a holy day of obligation. Louisiana’s cemeteries’ unique above-ground tombs provide the setting for honoring and paying tribute to deceased relatives and their memories. Friends and loved-ones take the time during “La Toussaint” to clean grave sites, decorate headstones, and pay respect. Candles light at dusk and many tiny flames become one big ocean of honor to the past, as the occasion serves as a social gathering and celebration filled with music and shared dishes. The next All Saints’ Day is November 1, 2023.
Christmas Eve Festival of the Bonfires for Papa Noël
Santa Claus is alive and well in St. James Parish, and it’s time to welcome him to Louisiana. Celebrate the coming of Papa Noël in Cajun country by lighting the path and sharing stories of the local legend, such as Papa Noël visiting children with toys on a small boat known as a pirogue that’s pulled by a team of alligators instead of a sleigh with reindeer.
For 200 years, communities have been lighting bonfires beside the bayou to help Papa Noël find his way to their houses. Locals build pyramid-shaped kindling for the bonfires, while visiting and sharing meals until dark. A holiday tailgating experience, one might say. Visitors can drive along the levees or down highways 18 and 44 to witness the fires that light the way to Christmas.
Sugar Bowl Parade
The Sugar Bowl is a celebrated college football game that has been played in New Orleans since 1935. But before the main event is on display, there is a parade. The Sugar Bowl New Year’s Eve Parade is an extravaganza done in Mardi Gras-style: marching bands, giant floats, throws tossed to spectators, and a glorious flood of pageantry. The parade proceeds into the French Quarter, past familiar and historic landmarks, including the French Market and Jackson Square. The parade performers’ centerpiece is a two-minute show before it all comes to an end at Canal Street late in the afternoon. This parade is a bright kick-off to a fresh new year that brings a whole city to its feet.
New Year’s Day Black-Eyed Peas
In New Orleans, it’s not uncommon to find your New Year’s Day meal chock-full of black-eyed peas and collard greens. This hearty meal of local crops goes back to the Civil War, when black-eyed peas were all that remained on farms after General Sherman’s march through the region. People survived on black-eyed peas for a long while, and the vegetable has come to represent hope and prosperity for the New Year, with the peas representing coins and the greens representing paper money. The sweetest treasure is the cornbread, which is the gold bar on any dinner plate.
Spending time with family and loved ones is the most important holiday tradition of them all. Whether you intend to drive to a gathering, or host one of your own, you’ll want the peace of mind a high quality homeowners insurance policy provides. Talk to your Farm Bureau Insurance agent today, or find one close to you using our Agent Finder.