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Winter celebration continues at Vermilionville

Posted at 12:36 PM, Dec 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-27 23:18:31-05

An "Old Time Winter" celebration continues this week at Vermilionville.

The event kicked off earlier this month and will take place twice more this year - Tuesday, Dec. 29, and Wednesday, Dec. 30, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Today, we caught up with Papa Noel, who was visiting with the children today.

"We have a showcase of different wintertime traditions, both holiday and also winter living traditions, like candle-making, making soap, different traditions that would have taken place during this time of year during the time period that we cover here at Vermilionville, which goes from the late 1700s to the late 1800s," Papa Noel tells us.

There are musicians playing music, storytellers and demonstrations, he said.

"I think what people like to see is the change in holiday traditions over time. Comparing the traditions we have now to the traditions over the years, they're quite different," Papa Noel says.

Some traditions persist, perhaps in different forms, like Christmas Eve bonfires and Réveillon, he added. Others are very different; for instance, gifts were much simpler years ago.

"When exploring any living history, it's important that we see our connection to the past, so we realize that we are part of history. We're not at the leading edge of history, we're right in the middle of the train. So, by learning lessons from the past, this can help us move forward," he says. "And learning the diversity of cultures in our area. There's not just one way to do wintertime holidays."

During these days, visitors are invited to sing Christmas carols, listen to stories, decorate cookies, view decorations, and more at the village's free Old Time Winter celebration Saturday.

Artisans are also on hand to demonstrate winter traditions of Acadian, Creole, and Native American cultures such as open hearth cooking and making santons (little saints).

Kids in attendance can write letters to Papa Noel and even meet the French Santa Claus himself, who was a trapper that would deliver small presents such as candy or money.

Cajun and Creole cuisine favorites will be available at the village's restaurant.

Vermilionville asks that those wanting to attend wear masks and practice social distancing.

"We have a live cooking demo in our Broussard kitchen, where it's demonstrating an actual recipe from the 1800s," explained tour coordinator Melissa Bastien. "It's an absolutely beautiful day. We are set on 23 acres where there is plenty of room to social distance, so come out and enjoy our culture."

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