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Chandeleur and crêpes in France

What is La Chandeleur? other than a great excuse to eat crêpes?

Today Candlemas, Chandeleur (candle festival) is always celebrated in the churches on February 2, although it is known equally as crêpes day. Tradition attributes the custom to Pope Gelasius I, who was distributing pancakes to pilgrims arriving in Rome. To celebrate Candlemas, all the candles in the house should be on. Tradition also asks not to put away the manger until Candlemas, which is the last Christmas Day cycle.

It is also said that the pancakes by their round shape and gold, are reminiscent of the solar disc, referring to the return of spring after dark and cold winter.

 

Preparation of crêpes on Chandeleur

There is still today a symbol linked to the preparation of the crêpes. One tradition dating back to the late fifth century and linked to a fertility rite, is to whip the crepes with the right hand while holding a gold coin or failing currency in the left hand, to enjoy prosperity throughout the year and ensures that the pancake lands properly in the pan. It is also said that the first crepe made should be kept in a cupboard to ensure a plentiful harvest later in the year. It is sometimes placed at the top of a wardrobe so the pancake is not seen as moldy so as to not lengthen misery and deprivation.

A few French Proverbs for Chandeleur

À la Chandeleur, l’hiver se meurt ou prend vigueur.
À la Chandeleur, au grand jour, les grandes douleurs.
À la Chandeleur, le jour croît d’une heure, familièrement À la Chandeleur, ça y va d’une heure
Rosée à la Chandeleur, l’hiver à sa dernière heure
Si la Chandeleur pleure, l’hiver ne demeure
Si le ciel n’est ni clair ni beau, nous aurons plus de vin que d’eau (Bordelais)

Sweet or savoury, all kinds of crêpes can be prepared to satisfy both our stomacs and palats. One of the great things about crêpes/pancakes is that we can put literally anything we like on top of them.

How to fold your crêpes

Ideas for recipes

eating crêpes on la chandeleur

One Response to Chandeleur and crêpes in France

  • The name chandeleur actually comes from the word chandelle or candle, as it is a Christian occasion involving much lighting and blessing of candles. The English word “chandler”, also derives from chandeleur – a sort of grocer who specialised in ship supplies and equipment, and presumably dealt in candles too.

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