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Now you have the perfect excuse to make crepes tonight 🙂
1. Nowadays, « la Chandeleur » is mostly known for being Crepes Day !
2. Because they are round and golden, crepes symbolise the sun. Around “la chandeleur” time, days are getting longer and warmer (in the Northern hemisphere!).
3. Traditionally, we try to flip the crepes in the pan by throwing them in the air, holding the pan in the right hand and a coin (a gold coin if possible) in the left hand. If the crepe lands properly in the pan, it means that the year ahead will bring prosperity. No money worry!
4. The special shallow pan to make crepes in is called “une crêpière” in French. Not to be mixed with “crêperie”, which is the name of the restaurant where you eat crepes 😉
5. « La Chandeleur » is celebrated on February 2nd.
6. Originally, it is a mix of a pagan and religious celebration day.
7. It’s a pagan celebration of the bear (‘ours”) welcoming the warmer days as the bear comes out of hibernating – late January / early February.
8. For a long time, « La Chandeleur » was called “Chandelours” in mountaineous ares (the Alps, the Pyrenees). “Chandelours” is a sandwich word blending “Chandeleur” and “ours” (“bear”).
9. It is a Christian celebration commemorating the Presentation of the Christ at the Temple and the purification of his mother, Mary.
10. February/”Février” comes from the Latin verb “februare”, which means “to purify” (hence the Purification of Mary was set in February)
11. February 2nd is 40 days after Christmas. Traditionally, the Christmas crib should not be packed up before that date – the end of the Christmas cycle.
12. “Chandeleur” literally means “Fête des chandelles” (“Candlemas”). The words “chandelle” (feminine noun) and “candle” have the same origin. Now, “candle” is also “bougie” (feminine noun) in French. What’s the difference ? The “chandelle” is actually made of tallow, while the “bougie” is made of wax.
13. On “Chandeleur” day, all the candles around the house should be lit up.
14. There are many sayings / proverbs around « la Chandeleur ». As often, these sayings are predictions based on the weather (something which was extremely important when life depended on good crops and weather). Sayings usually rhyme.
15. French saying : « À la Chandeleur, l’hiver se meurt ou prend vigueur. » (= « On Candlemas Day, winter either dies or becomes stronger”)
16. French saying : « Rosée à la Chandeleur, l’hiver à sa dernière heure. » (= « If there is dew on Candlemas Day, winter is ending. »)
So, are you going to make crepes today? What is your favourite flavour?
I have to say that I recently tasted a heavenly crepe by PopUp Crepes with lime and coconut, yummm! (Listen to French Voices Podcast, Episode 10: you’ll learn more about the owner and about crepes 😉 )