Christmas time for a Foreign Legionnaire is a sacred holiday. More so than than any other military force in the world. Legionnaires do not go home on leave to spend this time with their family as in other armies. The entire unit, including the officers, celebrates Christmas together in garrison. The Legion is their family and they go all out in mounting a significant celebration each year. Leading up to Christmas day several units will compete against each other who can create the most inventive nativity creche–as judged by the Regimental commander or senior officer on post. Also the barracks and caserne is decorated in advance of the holiday. On Christmas there is church and then later in the evening the social event/dinner where the festivities really get rolling. Officers and NCO’s are allowed to be made fun of in short comedy skits. All the men get presents from their officers who also are found serving the troops from the buffet line or at the open bar pouring drinks. Later that evening the Legionnaires continue the party in the garrison canteen which does not close until late in the night. The men are usually given the next day off to allow the men to recover form the celebration. Now this sounds like a great tradition.
These links will take you to a U-Tube version of Silent Night and O’Tannenbaum as sung by the Foreign Legion. Of course, you can also watch a Christmas episode of Captain Gallant (The Boy Who Found Christmas) at the Internet Archive.
And to all readers of this blog Joyeux Noël!