Much less known than the “Gros Souper” or the big supper, or the ritual of the 13 Desserts, the Cacho-Fio or Cacho-Fue, literally “to set alight,” is an ancient Provençal Christmas tradition that brings the whole family together around the fireplace.
Together, the oldest and the youngest at the gathering bring a log from a fruit tree, often a cherry or an olive tree, which they both place on the fire at the same time after turning three times around a table dressed with three tablecloths (3 representing the Trinity in the Catholic religion).
The ritual is accompanied by a small prayer; while he or she sprinkles the log three times with mulled wine or olive oil, the eldest of the family should exclaim: “Yule Log, give fire, let us rejoice, God gives us joy, Christmas approaches, all is well, God give us the grace to see the year ahead, and if we are not more, let us not be less.”
This tradition is continued still today by some families and villages of Provence and should take place just before sitting down to dinner for the “Gros Souper” on the evening of December 24. The Cacho-Fio is supposed to evoke the new fire, that of a new year ahead.