Using prepositions with celebration days, like Christmas

Look at these examples:

À Noël, on mange toujours trop!
At Christmas, we always eat too much.

Je t'ai vu le jour de Noël.
I saw you on Christmas Day.

À Pâques, les enfants vont à la chasse aux oeufs.
At Easter, the children go egg hunting.

À Hanoucca, on allume des bougies.
At Hanukkah, we light candles.

Note that:

- when talking about the celebration in a general context (at Christmas), you use the preposition à + [célébration];

- when you're talking about the very day of the celebration (on Christmas Day), you use le jour de + [célébration].

Case of Eid = l'Aïd

À l'Aïd, on prie et on va à la mosquée.
At Eid, we pray and go to the mosque.



Je vais chez mes parents le jour de l'Aïd.
I'm going to my parents' on Eid day.

As Aïd starts with a vowel, we use à l' or le jour de l', in order to ease the pronunciation.  

Also see Using prepositions with name days, like Saint Valentine's Day

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

Je vais chez mes parents le jour de l'Aïd.
I'm going to my parents' on Eid day.


À Noël, on mange toujours trop!
At Christmas, we always eat too much.


À l'Aïd, on prie et on va à la mosquée.
At Eid, we pray and go to the mosque.


À Hanoucca, on allume des bougies.
At Hanukkah, we light candles.


À Pâques, les enfants vont à la chasse aux oeufs.
At Easter, the children go egg hunting.


Le jour de Pâques, nous faisons un grand repas familial.
On Easter Day, we have a big family meal.


Je t'ai vu le jour de Noël.
I saw you on Christmas Day.


Q&A Forum 4 questions, 8 answers

Tom RuneC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Definite article with "Hanoucca"

Does it make any sense to ask why "Hanoucca" doesn't use a definite article in order to ease the pronunciation? Is it because the "H" is an "H aspiré"? 

Asked 1 month ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Tom,

I am not familiar with Hanoucca, but Pâques and Noël don’t have one either, so nothing odd there...

Definite article with "Hanoucca"

Does it make any sense to ask why "Hanoucca" doesn't use a definite article in order to ease the pronunciation? Is it because the "H" is an "H aspiré"? 

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JohnB2Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Why is "Les enfants reçoivent des cadeaux le jour de Noël" correct?

In the case here, the act of receiving presents serves as a general statement about Christmas. To my mind no specific Christmas is understood here; instead all Christmases seem to be the explicit understanding.

Thus, following your grammar explanation, the more correct grammar choice seems to be "à".

Asked 5 months ago
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor Correct answer

I think this remark found in the lesson applies here:

- when you're talking about the very day of the celebration (on Christmas Day), you use le jour de + [célébration].

Why is "Les enfants reçoivent des cadeaux le jour de Noël" correct?

In the case here, the act of receiving presents serves as a general statement about Christmas. To my mind no specific Christmas is understood here; instead all Christmases seem to be the explicit understanding.

Thus, following your grammar explanation, the more correct grammar choice seems to be "à".

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JohnB2Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

I know this would be a huge pain for Kwiziq French folks but . . .

. . . it would be great if you could provide both English and French grammar explanations (e.g., right now I am studying "Using prepositions with celebration days, like Christmas," which only has an English grammar explainer). 

The reason is that some of us either a) have access to French-speaking friends/acquaintances, so being able to do extra probing of a grammar point with them IN FRENCH using technical explanations would be helpful or b) like to do further research on line using French to find additional detailed French-language explanation of grammar points, or both.

Asked 5 months ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi John,

As this is a forum for questions of language, please send any suggestions by email .

Hope this helps!

I know this would be a huge pain for Kwiziq French folks but . . .

. . . it would be great if you could provide both English and French grammar explanations (e.g., right now I am studying "Using prepositions with celebration days, like Christmas," which only has an English grammar explainer). 

The reason is that some of us either a) have access to French-speaking friends/acquaintances, so being able to do extra probing of a grammar point with them IN FRENCH using technical explanations would be helpful or b) like to do further research on line using French to find additional detailed French-language explanation of grammar points, or both.

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AnnC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Why doesn't Noël use a definite article when other holidays do?

Asked 1 year ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Anne,

As Chris has already said Noël and Pâques don't have an article in front of them but  the Saints days  do ,

e.g. C'est la St Jean aujourdh'ui or aujourd'hui c'est la Sainte Honorine , ou la Sainte Isabelle, ou la Saint Martin...

It is ( so and so ) Saint' s day today ...

You also use the article with other religious celebrations , e.g. La Toussaint, La Pentecôte, l'Ascention . ( All Saints' day, Pentecost/ Whitsun , Ascention day )

So Noël and Pâques are pretty much the exceptions here,

Hope this helps!

ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor
Hi Ann, I looked at the lesson and couldn't find a difference between Noël and the other holidays. It is either: 1) À Noël -- At Christmas (in general) or 2) Le jour de Noël -- On Christmas Day. Can you point me to what you have difficulty with exactly? -- Chris (not a native speaker).
AnnC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor
It is always à la St. Valentin et á la Aïd etc but just À Noël. Just wondering why
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor
In the lesson you are referencing it is "à Pâques and, "à Hanoucca". The form "à la St. Valentin" is used for name days. Here is the corresponding lesson: Using prepositions with name days, like Saint Valentine's Day Hope that helps, -- Chris.
AnnC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor
Merci

Why doesn't Noël use a definite article when other holidays do?

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