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Christmas, Easter and Carnival

Every family has their own Christmas traditions


In my family, Christmas always begins with the decorating of the Christmas tree. Later, we usually cook some sweet food. So, we made some chocolate truffles for us and the family, and we also made “fruits déguisés” some dry fruits filled with almond paste.

For the Christmas dinner with my family, we eat smoked salmon and foie gras which is cooked duck liver. We also eat turkey filled with chestnuts. And for dessert, we eat la buche, a cake in the shape of a wood log with a glass of champagne. We open the presents usually after dinner on the 24th of December. Every family has their own Christmas traditions but regarding the turkey and the buche, it remains a constant for a lot of French families.


My family and I, do not have a lot of Easter traditions since we are not religious, so we do not go to church or celebrate any religious events. Easter is mostly a way to see the family, having a family dinner. Easter is also about eating a lot of chocolate. When we were children, my parents used to hide some chocolate eggs in the garden for the Easter hunt.


In my region, Carnival is not really celebrated anymore, but there are still some places where you can do it. First, in a city next to the city I live in, there is the Carnaval de Granville, it takes place five days after Mardi Gras and 47 days after Easter. This carnival is one of the most important in France with 130 000 visitors in 2015. This event is a part of the cultural patrimony of the UNESCO since 2016. It was in this city, where the fisherman spend their last day on the mainland before they start the fishing campaign. Officially the first carnival was in 1875. People make some Chars with a lot of colors, get a costume, do the parade and burn a big wooden puppet the “king carnaval“.

And still in Normandy, in the city where I study, which is Caen, there is also a Carnival. It’s the Student carnival, this event is more recent, reusing old traditions from 1894, it was created in 1996 by a student association of the University. The particularity of this Carnival is that it’s only for the students, it takes place usually on the first Tuesday of March. It’s one of the biggest student carnivals in Europe, with 30 000 people in the streets in 2016. The engineering school and the medical school made some Char also. And all the participants get a costume, recently, people get a costume inspired by pop cultures, such as super-heroes, series, etc.

Short bio of the volunteer:

Léo Cherel, a volunteer from France.


Erasmus+ is a programme of the European Commission embracing the fields of education, training, youth, and sports during the period 2014-2020. One of the major aspects is the cooperation between the different fields where the programme acts, hence contributing to a diverse and rich Europe.

Amongst the several goals of the programme, the following are prioritised: the objectives of the Europe 2020 Strategy, including the headline education target; the aims of the strategic framework for European cooperation in education and training (ET 2020), including the corresponding benchmarks; the sustainable development of Partner Countries in the field of higher education; the overall goals of the renewed framework for European cooperation in the youth field (2010-2018); the objective of developing the European dimension in sport, in particular grassroots sport, in line with the EU work plan for sport and the promotion of European values in accordance with Article 2 of the Treaty on the European Union.

In order to achieve these goals, the Erasmus+ has several action policies. The Key Action 1 (KA1) is directed towards the mobility of people; Key Action 2 (KA2) for the cooperation for innovation and the interchange of good experiences; and Key Action 3 (KA3) which is for the support of reformation policies.

European Voluntary Service

Since 1991 the University of Madeira Students’ Union has developed a wide incentive policy for voluntary work. In 2013 the Students’ Union started the process to receive, send and coordinate Erasmus+ projects of the European Voluntary Service, in order to have a larger influence in the volunteering field. The Union received its first volunteer withing the ambit of a KA1 project in 2014. Many efforts have been done to allow young people from Madeira to take part in several initiatives in Europe, as well as propose several projects allowing young people from several countries to work in the projects of the Students’ Union of the University of Madeira. The main goal of the voluntary work is the contribution of the volunteers to the communities and places they will be staying, being their work not rewarded with payment.

We believe that the European Voluntary Service is a mechanism full of experiences, allowing the approved candidates to have the privilege of taking part in these projects and benefit the places and communities where these volunteers will be staying.

Since 2013, the University of Madeira Students’ Union has received volunteers that have collaborated in several activities and initiatives. Besides being able to enjoy a wonderful experience which will contribute to their personal and professional growth, they are able to contribute in a unique way to the community in which they are inserted and to join dozens of volunteers from the University of Madeira.