Sunday, December 20, 2009

"La Fée des Étoiles", a French Christmas Character

For most of you, Santa Claus' feminine partner has probably always been Mother Claus. It is not so for everyone. You see, In France and French tradition in general, Le Père Noël is accompanied by La Fée des Étoiles (The Star Fairy). In the past, in families where some male relative played the role of Santa Claus on Christmas Eve, there was often an aunt dressed in a white or blue dress decorated with stars. It is our tradition.

My favorite depiction of the Star Fairy comes from a 1984 French movie, J'ai rencontré le Père Noël. I was at the local premiere with my parents, I was given the soundtrack and I still have it (it is a vinyl 45 rpm). It is not a great movie by far, but to me, it is associated with Christmas and I love to watch it and listen to the music.

In the movie, the Fairy is played by French Singer Karen Chéryl. Her dress looks nothing like the usual descrition: she wears a cream coloured Elizabethan inspired dress, complete with puffed and slashed upper sleeves and sheer fan collar.

In the following video (a clip from the TV show Champs-Elisées (1982) that originally aired on November 24, 1984), starting at around 2:20 minutes, you can see Karen Chéryl in her Fairy dress, full length and in detail.

Nowadays, the character of Mother Claus has been adapted in French too as La Mère Noël; but it is nice to remember our traditions and not forget the Star Fairy. After all, "every time someone says 'I do not believe in fairies', somewhere there's a fairy that falls down dead"*.

*Line from Tinkerbell in Hook (1991).

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