On 2nd February each year, French people celebrate La Chandeleur. In English this is known as Candlemass.
This falls 40 days after Christmas and signifies the day that Jesus was presented at the temple. The festival was created in 472 by the Pope The name ‘Chandeleur’ comes from the candles that were traditionally used on this occasion. In churches, they are blessed and replace torches and are left alight to signify light, purity and to keep harm away. Religious people often bring a blessed candle home and display it in their window on 2nd February. It is also religious tradition that the nativity scene that is displayed in many houses at Christmas should remain on display until 2nd February.
So why do French people eat crêpes on La Chandeleur?
The round shape and golden colour of crêpes represent the sun and the return to the light. From February, days also start to get longer and eating of crêpes also refers to the cycle of the seasons and the arrival of spring and brighter days.
This festival is also accompanied by superstitions. If peasants didn’t make crêpes on this day, they believed that their crops would be bad the following year. To ensure that the harvest was good and that the year would be financially prosperous, they believed that they had to flip the first crêpe in the air with their right hand while holding a coin (Louis d’Or) in their left hand and also ensuring that the flipped crêpe landed perfectly back into the pan! The crêpe was then conserved on top of a wardrobe or cupboard and supposedly shouldn’t go moldy and should keep misery and deprivation far away.
Many other countries also celebrate this religious feast, each with their own variation of the French tradition. Most other traditions around La Chandeleur which have existed over time such as processions no longer take place. However the tradition of crêpes remains and why not? Crêpes are delicious!
- February 26th, 2021
Croissants: do French people eat croissants for breakfast every day? No! Most French people eat breakfast at home so don’t eat fresh croissants from the ‘boulangerie’ on a daily basis. Croissants and pain au chocolat are popular on more relaxed days for example at weekends or on holiday. Many people…Continue Reading
- February 16th, 2021
Easter is one of the main religious celebrations in France after Christmas. Easter marks the resurrection of Christ and the end of the 40 days of lent so this is an important Christian religious festival. In France, Easter Monday is a public holiday. Easter is called ‘Pâques’ with a capital…Continue Reading
- February 12th, 2021
The French are well known for having more bank holidays than many other countries! So how many do they actually have, what are they and how do bank holidays work in France…..? French call bank holidays ‘fériés’ or ‘jours fériés’ and in France (unlike in the UK for example),…Continue Reading
- February 7th, 2021
If you have been put on furlough (chômage/activité partielle), then the French government are offering to finance your French lessons. Most sectors including mountain and tourism businesses have their training fees paid 100%. What about Business Owners and Auto-Entrepreneurs? Business owners and auto-entrepreneurs can also quality for training budgets to…Continue Reading