Cajun Christmas in Southern Louisiana: Traditions and Events

Cajun Country in Louisiana celebrates the holidays just like the rest of the nation however they like to throw in some Cajun holiday traditions that make for a merry ol’ time!

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 Turducken! 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 flying skiff (small boat used in coastal areas)!

A Cajun Christmas tradition is to visit the Noel Acadien au Village in Lafayette

Wander through the thousands of lights at the Noel Acadien au Village in Lafayette.

Bonfire on the Levee

Bonfires on the Levee

Cajun Christmas Traditions, Holiday Celebrations and Events in Louisiana

Lafayette rings of zydeco beats throughout the holiday season at their annual Cajun & Creole Christmas Celebrations from Nov. 27 - Dec. 31, 2020. The celebrations include everything from a Christmas tree decorating contest, a concert featuring Curley Taylor and Zydeco Trouble, a holiday window display competition, caroling and a Movies in the Parc season finale. Local and state guidelines regarding COVID-19 are being observed at this downtown Lafayette event, with social distancing measures, limited event capacity and mask requirements.

Through Dec. 23, you’ll want to check out Noel Acadien au Village in Lafayette to view more than 500,000 lights illuminating the night, lighted displays, carnival rides, local cuisine and photos with Santa. Festival organizers have made safety a priority at this year’s event, so a limited number of visitors is allowed per night.

From Dec. 16 to 30, the historic living history village of Vermilionville hosts Old Time Winter at Vermilionville, an event where families can see what winter traditions in the Cajun Country of yesteryear looked like. Meet Papa Noël, make wax candles, hear (and maybe even sing along with) Christmas carolers and drink warm apple cider. Fest organizers ask kindly that visitors wear masks and practice social distancing.

View the full Lafayette holiday event calendar for complete schedules and information.

Additionally, every Christmas season, on the Mississippi River levees above Highways 44 and 18, dozens of log structures are built for an enormous display of bonfires. Though traditionally these log piles are built to resemble narrow pyramids, local residents who build them get creative — elaborate log cabins, trains or swamp creatures. Fires are set on Christmas Eve in an absolutely breathtaking display. Unfortunately this year's 2020 event is cancelled, but you can still learn more about the history of the bonfires

Discover even more Christmas events in Northern Louisiana on the Holiday Trail of Lights, where you can celebrate with eight cities across central and northern Louisiana.