Olympic hijabs

I seem to remember that pupils cannot wear crosses in school. Am I right?

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I can’t find a good form of words with which to explain this better, but the impression I get is very similar to what I think @Porridge is saying - that France is not neutral about religion.

I REALLY don’t want to offend you on this.

Yes, any form,shape or symbol referring to a religion or cult is not allowed in school, hence all the hooha about clothing now.


Of course, they can’t wear any token of any religion. And they can’t have a special diet unless it’s for medical reasons, and they can’t skip lessons because parents disapprove of the subject matter either.


I suppose we aren’t - we feel it has no place in the public sphere and is a personal thing. Anyone can practise any religion they like, at home, in private. It isn’t a special protected respected characteristic. We don’t think belief in the supernatural is necessary or makes you a better person or needs state support, and certainly shouldn’t be a measure of public worthiness.


But the French State funds the upkeep of church buildings, doesn’t it?


Depuis 1946, la Constitution française dispose que notre pays est une « rĂ©publique indivisible, laĂŻque, dĂ©mocratique et sociale » et, en vertu du cĂ©lĂšbre article 2 de la loi du 9 dĂ©cembre 1905 concernant la sĂ©paration des Églises et de l’État, « la rĂ©publique ne reconnaĂźt ni ne subventionne aucun culte ».

Si la sĂ©paration implique thĂ©oriquement l’interdiction de toute subvention, directe ou indirecte, en faveur d’une communautĂ© religieuse, ce rĂ©gime de sĂ©paration est loin d’ĂȘtre absolu.

Ainsi, la loi de sĂ©paration dispose Ă  l’article 12 que « les Ă©difices qui (
) servent Ă  l’exercice public des cultes ou au logement de leurs ministres (
) sont et demeurent propriĂ©tĂ©s de l’État, des dĂ©partements, des communes et des Ă©tablissements publics de coopĂ©ration intercommunale ayant pris la compĂ©tence en matiĂšre d’édifice des cultes ».

This is from a 2001 report for the SĂ©nat. I suppose it’s cultural rather than religious, like the Spaniards keeping up mosques built during the 700 years Spain was the Muslim dominion of al Andalus, or synagogues even if they repurposed them and persecuted Muslims and Jews.
In France of course you have the added complications of territories which weren’t French when the 1905 law went through.

Some of my favourite buildings were built as places of religion, but religion itself isn’t why I appreciate them.

It’s the same as the Authorised Version of the bible vs the New English Bible - the AV is completely marvellous and the NEB should be burnt because it’s ghastly.


I’m always surprised to see how much the French value their Christian heritage: churches, saint’s days, Christian holidays.

It’s like turning an aircraft carrier, we have been laïc for a smidge over a century, France was a christian state for over a thousand years. Not surprising.

If the government could have us working on christmas day or easter day they would, it’s a lot more difficult to take holidays away than to give them though. And many French people don’t associate christmas or easter with religion at all, which is culturally a bit of an eye-opener.



In accordance with the 1905 Law on Separation of Church and State

churches built before that date belong to the commune
 churches built after that date belong to the church authorities

Thus in our Commune which has a very old church
 The State/Commune is the property Owner, The Church Authority is the Tenant

and, as with council houses and whatever other council properties including the church 
 major upkeep is the responsibility of the Commune
 and can prove rather expensive.

No good friday here yet I would have thought it more important than easter monday in religious terms.

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Exactly! They get good Friday off in Alsace because it was German when the law was passed. Easter Monday is just habit and corresponds to a bank holiday in the UK I suppose. English people are often surprised at December 26th not being a holiday, but it isn’t in Scotland either.


Although I knew that boxing day is not celebrated in France what did â€‰surprise me was the impact of Christmas day falling on a Sunday.

Or rather lack of impact - you’d have thought it a normal weekend were it not for the odd festive light strewn around the place.

I suppose that the religiously minded will go to mass on Christmas Eve, possibly followed by a family gathering to open presents and Sunday is a day of rest anyway but it all seemed very anticlimactic.

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I love the fact that in France Christmas is basically an evening and the following day and then life gets back to normal. The interminable Christmas/New Year holiday in the UK where all people do is go to the sales is awful.


And the awful months’ long run-up to Christmas and the awful seasonal music in the awful supermarkets!


I do too. All decorations in the home done Christmas Eve then gone not too much later. For me the way to go. Celebrate the day or two then that is it. Mind you I live the vitrines in Paris!


I agree Sue. I love it that Christmas is no big deal in France. I usually wait until a few days before, and then pop to Intermarché to get a modest, very good value little tree for the porch. No fuss and no bother.


Everyone will have a different view and experience.
In my commune Christmas is alive and well

However, it’s not overblown

When PÚre Noël wanders down the main street, heading for the school
 folk (of all ages) smile and wave

and once he gets there

and the kids catch sight of him

wow, it is truly a wonderful time

watching the various expressions flitting across their faces
 ranging from amazement and disbelief to excitement and joy


Our commune has a PÚre Noël event every year. Once he came on a pony, and once on a quad. There are presents for the children and boxes of goodies for the older folks. We decorate the room and there are drinks and nibbles.