Month of Memory

November in France: The Month of Memory

With All Saints’ and Remembrance Day, November marks the month of memory.

French Tradition: All Saints’ and Remembrance Day

“Toussaint” is the contraction of “Tous les Saints”, meaning “All Saints” in English. On 1st November, the French pay their respects to those who have died. Family members gather together to go to the cemetery. They lay chrysanthemums on their grave and light candles to symbolise a happy afterlife. They also have the opportunity to take part in special masses organised for the occasion. All Saints’ Day can be a very important moment for families. They can spend an entire day together in a respectful and reverent atmosphere, often void of the usual family disputes. This day is the chance to strengthen family ties through a pleasant day spent together.

Remembrance Day, which takes place on 11th November, is a memorial day observed in Commonwealth of Nations member states since the end of the First World War to remember the members of their armed forces who have died in battle. In France this day is a bank holiday and a two-minutes silence is held at 11am, in commemoration of the moment at which the Armistice came into force. Since 2012, the 11th November has become the day when respects are paid to those who have died for France.