Using prepositions with name days, like Saint Valentine's Day

Look at these examples:

On est sortis à la Saint-Valentin.
We went out on Valentine's Day.

Le jour de la Saint-Valentin, tu passes du temps avec ton bien-aimé.
On Valentine's Day, you spend time with your loved one.

À la Sainte-Catherine, les femmes célibataires mangent du gâteau.

On St Catherine's Day, single women eat cake.

Le jour de la Sainte-Catherine, les femmes célibataires mangent du gâteau.
On St Catherine's Day, single women eat cake.

Je suis né à la Saint-Georges.
I was born on St George's day.

Je suis né le jour de la Saint-Georges.
I was born on St George's day.

Note that when talking about doing something on a name day, you can use either:

à la + Saint(e) [name] 
or 
le jour de la + Saint(e) [name].

While à la is more general, le jour de la insists a bit more on the very day.

In French, name days are feminine, even with masculine names. 
It's because they're considered as la fête de = the celebration of that name.

Therefore, you will always say à la + [name day], or le jour de la + [name day]. 

 

This rule also applies to All Saints' Day = la Toussaint :

À la Toussaint en France, les gens ne travaillent pas.
On All Saints' Day in France, people don't work.

Le jour de la Toussaint, on met des fleurs sur la tombe des gens que l'on a perdus.
On All Saints' Day, we put flowers on the grave of people we lost.

 

Also see Using prepositions with celebration days, like Christmas

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

Je me souviens, c'était à la St Jean.

I remember, it was on St John's Day.


Je suis né à la Saint-Georges.
I was born on St George's day.


Le jour de la Sainte-Catherine, les femmes célibataires mangent du gâteau.
On St Catherine's Day, single women eat cake.


Le jour de la Saint-Valentin, tu passes du temps avec ton bien-aimé.
On Valentine's Day, you spend time with your loved one.


À la Sainte-Catherine, les femmes célibataires mangent du gâteau.

On St Catherine's Day, single women eat cake.


On est sortis à la Saint-Valentin.
We went out on Valentine's Day.


À la Toussaint en France, les gens ne travaillent pas.
On All Saints' Day in France, people don't work.


Le jour de la Saint-Jean, on fait un grand feu de joie.
On St John's Day, we have a big bonfire.


Le jour de la Toussaint, on met des fleurs sur la tombe des gens que l'on a perdus.
On All Saints' Day, we put flowers on the grave of people we lost.


Je suis né le jour de la Saint-Georges.
I was born on St George's day.


Q&A Forum 5 questions, 8 answers

On est sortis à la Saint-Valentin.

Why does sortis have an "s" - I understand that être verbs will agree with subject but this is "on" - I did not think that this was treated at plural "nous"

Asked 3 months ago
CécileKwiziq language super starCorrect answer

Hi Dragana,

Yes in this case when ‘on’ refers to several people it will agree as if it was ‘nous’.

Strange but true!

On est sortis à la Saint-Valentin.

Why does sortis have an "s" - I understand that être verbs will agree with subject but this is "on" - I did not think that this was treated at plural "nous"

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why i cant see the lesson on the page it shows the previous lesson thanks in advance

Asked 6 months ago
CécileKwiziq language super star

Hi Zehra,

Could you report it in the Help and Support section.

This is a forum for language questions.

why i cant see the lesson on the page it shows the previous lesson thanks in advance

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An extra detail

la tombe des gens que l'on a perdus

Why don’t we say

la tombe des gens qu’on a perdus

Asked 0 years ago
AurélieKwiziq language super starCorrect answer

Bonjour Nabeel !

Here both versions are correct :)

Using "l'on" is considered more elegant, as it's an antiquated version of "on", but both are perfectly acceptable.

Here's our partner LawlessFrench's page on the subject:
https://www.lawlessfrench.com/pronunciation/euphony/

Bonne journée !

An extra detail

la tombe des gens que l'on a perdus

Why don’t we say

la tombe des gens qu’on a perdus

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Specific day

Why would the day of birth be à la? I understand from the text that a la is generally ´the day' and le jour de is a specific day. On the question Laurent est né ________ Saint-Patrick, the answer is contradictory. Please help clarify.
Asked 1 year ago
RonC1
Bonjour Meghna, The lesson example is thus: Note that when talking about doing something on a name day, you can use both à la + Saint(e) name or le jour de la + Saint(e) name. While à la is more general, le jour de la insists a bit more on the very day. Note also that in French name days are feminine, even with masculine names. It's because they're considered as la fête de (the celebration of) that name. Therefore, you will always say à la + name day, or le jour de la + name day. Je suis né à la Saint-Georges. (I was born on St George's day.) Je suis né le jour de la Saint-Georges. (I was born on St George's day.) Laurent est né à la (fête de) Saint-Patrick [more general] Laurent est né le jour de (la fête de) Saint-Patrick [the very day] Another way of looking at this is with the phrase: salade à la Niçoise which could be translated salad in the Nice manner, a somewhat generalized description. Looking at it in this manner helped me to differentiate because la salade de Niçoise is much more specific in meaning. This was a very good question; I had not learned this previously, myself. Merci!
Thanks Ron. Then does this mean that I should not have been marked wrong for using le jour de in the question in my original query?
RonC1
It may be that

you were marked wrong if you used le jour de - rather than le jour de la

I was marked wrong as well - it took me a while to work it out.

Specific day

Why would the day of birth be à la? I understand from the text that a la is generally ´the day' and le jour de is a specific day. On the question Laurent est né ________ Saint-Patrick, the answer is contradictory. Please help clarify.

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SueC1

date please!!

when you mention these feast days could you give the date on which they occur. thank you
Asked 4 years ago
AurélieKwiziq language super star
Bonjour Sue ! Here are the dates of the days mentioned in the lesson: La Sainte-Catherine = le 25 novembre La Saint-Jean = le 24 juin La Saint-George = le 23 avril La Saint-Valentin = le 14 février Bonne journée !

date please!!

when you mention these feast days could you give the date on which they occur. thank you

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