“Twas the night before Christmas an’ all t’ru de house,
Dey don’t a ting pass not even a mouse.”
If you’ve ever spent Christmas in Cajun country, then you’re probably familiar with the above line. The opening of J. B. Kling, Jr.’s famous take on a Christmas classic, the aptly named “Cajun Night Before Christmas”, has become a holiday staple in homes all throughout Louisiana for its funny depictions of life out in ‘de bayou and a vivid reimagining of St. Nick as a skiff-flying, gator-riding holiday hero.
Every year, like many other Cajuns, we make it a habit to break out Kling, Jr.’s book and read it amongst our friends and families. This year, we’re feeling particularly inspired by it, so we’ve decided to throw together a quick list of some of our favorite holiday traditions.
Christmas Bonfires On The River
If you find yourself in St. James Parish in mid-December, you’ll see a number of dazzling sights and lights—but not the typical Christmas lights you’re probably thinking of! Instead of Christmas trees adorned with ornaments and electric bulbs, expect to find massive bonfires constructed from wooden planks and fireworks painting the dark country sky. Don’t call the fire department—it’s the Festival of Bonfires!
This tradition of burning bonfires dates back to the 1800s as a holdover from French and German Catholic holiday celebrations. After attending a Midnight Mass, folks from all around the region enjoy bowls of hot gumbo, listen to music and celebrate the joys of the holidays with friends and family.
Noel Acadien au Village
A modern take on a Cajun tradition, Noel Acadien au Village is a staple holiday celebration in Lafayette. Every year, from the end of November to the end of December, the historic preservation site of Acadian Village—a 10-acre-wide historically-accurate recreation of a typical 1800s Cajun village—is transformed into a winter wonderland.
Visitors can expect to see over half-a-million lights, live entertainment, carnival rides, and local cuisine as they wander along the beautiful landscape. Best of all, all proceeds directly benefit LARC’s Acadian Village and the community services offered by LARC.
Christmas Turducken: The Three Bird Roast
You know we can’t talk about holidays without talking about food—and we can’t talk about holiday food without talking about Turducken.
We know what you’re thinking and, no, Turducken is not some made-up creature with the head of a turkey, body of a duck and the talons of a chicken. Though you’d be right to assume that if something like that existed, it’d probably be found in Cajun country and we’d have surely discovered multiple ways to kill it, cook it and eat it.
Commonly called a “three bird roast”, Turducken is a classic holiday dish consisting of deboned chicken that is stuffed inside of a deboned duck which is, against all odds, stuffed again into a deboned turkey. In typical Cajun fashion, we also typically go one step further and stuff the whole thing with cornbread dressing or jambalaya.
It’s good, good, cher!
A Christmas Miracle: Crawfish Season
Of course, the most exciting part of the holiday season for any true-blooded Cajun is the advent of Crawfish season!
While not officially tied to the Christmas season, it happens to be that crawfish season typically starts around mid to late December—depending on how favorable the weather has been! Crawfish don’t tend to respond well to fast, hard freezes so mild holiday weather is always a great sign for these tasty crustaceans.
And of course, there’s no better way to share the holiday spirit than through gift-giving. Fortunately, as Louisiana’s premier crawfish supplier, we specialize in shipping our namesake claim-to-fame all around the United States. Contact Acadia Crawfish to learn more!