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See the Holiday Trail of Lights fireworks in Natchitoches. Photo: Karen Holt.

Some Cajun Christmas traditions that mark the holidays always involve lots of laughter in the company of friends and family. Many holiday dinners include having seafood dishes like seafood gumbo and oyster dressing. Look for Cajun sausage and fried turkey—or a signature Louisiana Turduchen! Bread pudding, pralines, fudge candy, pound cake and divinity are some of the desserts served.

Christmas eve in Cajun Country has a slightly different version of the “Night Before Christmas.” The “Cajun Night Before Christmas” is read in local lingo and follows a similar story line except gumbo replaces sugar plums, Santa is dressed head to toe in muskrat pelts and instead of reindeer and sleighs, alligators pull Santa in a skiff (small boat used in coastal areas)!

Cajun Celebrations and Events

Head to St. James Parish for the Festival of Bonfires, in Lutcher on Dec. 11-13, 2015. This tradition dates back to the 1800s and was a carryover from French and German traditions of lighting bonfires around the holidays. The bonfires are constructed as four-sided wooden plank structures that easily burn bright and hot. The festival is, of course, accompanied by live entertainment, food and even carnival rides.

Lafayette rings of zydeco beats throughout the holiday season at their annual Cajun & Creole Christmas Celebrations from Nov. 1 - Dec. 31, 2015. The celebrations include everything from art walks to Christmas parades, symphony orchestras, caroling and shopping extravaganzas. Don’t miss the Noel Acadian au Village in Lafayette to view more than 500,000 lights illuminating the night. Enjoy nightly entertainment, local cuisine and photos with Santa. View the Lafayette website for complete schedules and information.

Lake Charles hosts its annual Cajun Christmas festival that also celebrates throughout the month of December. Wander through the Mistletoe & Moss Holiday Market shopping event or head to the Imperial Calcasieu Museum for their winter Snow Village display. Have some Community Coffee and breakfast with Santa at the Christmas Under the Oaks Festival in Sulphur. Don’t miss the Light Up the Lake Christmas Celebration with a street parade through downtown Lake Charles and lots of free events from Santa’s Workshop, Lighting Ceremony and Lighted Boat Parade with a fireworks finale!

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