Hippie Kitchen is excited to be a part of this NOLA tradition for our first year open! Come join us for our special pre-fixe holiday menus and cocktails!
The History of Reveillon Dinners
Derived from the French word for “awakening,” Reveillon originally was a meal served after midnight mass on Christmas Eve. Early New Orleans was almost entirely Catholic, and virtually the entire community would participate in these ceremonies. Families would return from the late-night service famished and set upon a feast prepared in advance and laid out on the table or sideboard.
A typical early Reveillon menu looked very much like breakfast — with egg dishes, breads and puddings, but could also include turtle soup, oysters and grillades of veal. Naturally, the Creoles accompanied these rich repasts with wines, cordials and other fortified drinks. The dinners could last for many hours, and by some accounts even until dawn.
Through the 19th century, American holiday conventions like Christmas trees, gifts for children and shopping frenzies began gradually to establish themselves in New Orleans and supplant many of the Creole traditions. By the turn of the century, Reveillon dinners could be found only in traditional homes, and by the 1940s the custom was all but extinct.
Reawakening the Reveillon
In the 1990s, however, the Reveillon tradition was “reawakened” and transformed. The organization French Quarter Festivals Inc., interested in attracting travelers to New Orleans during the perennial holiday season lull in convention bookings, approached local restaurants with an idea to offer and promote special holiday menus. Restaurants eagerly embraced the idea, and soon so did their local regulars and out-of-town visitors.