Fam­i­lies and friends get to­gether ev­ery 2 Fe­bru­ary to cel­e­brate an an­cient tra­di­tion with some de­li­cious, yet sim­ple food

France - - Bon Appétit -

Ex­actly 40 days af­ter Christ­mas, French peo­ple gather to­gether with fam­ily and close friends to mark the tra­di­tional cel­e­bra­tion of La Chandeleur.

Also known as the Chris­tian cel­e­bra­tion of Can­dle­mas, the event takes its name from the word chan­delle, mean­ing can­dle in French.

The an­cient date is a fes­ti­val of light, of­fer­ing hope in the dark­ness and a look for­ward to the brighter spring days ahead.

It orig­i­nally goes back to Ro­man times and in the 5th cen­tury AD, Pope Ge­la­sius I made the date a Chris­tian hol­i­day.

Ev­ery 2 Fe­bru­ary, French peo­ple make crêpes to mark the oc­ca­sion with some­thing de­li­cious to eat. Eggs, flour and milk are in plen­ti­ful sup­ply as house­holds whip up ei­ther a savoury or sweet treat for their trea­sured guests.

The rea­son that La Chandeleur is cel­e­brated with crêpes also goes back a very long time. At around the time that farm­ers would be­gin plant­ing win­ter crops, there was often sur­plus flour from the pre­vi­ous year’s har­vest which was used to make the in­ex­pen­sive and sim­ple food.

Also, with their round shape and golden colour, they are thought to have re­minded peo­ple of the sun.

Peas­ants soon be­gan to be­lieve that cel­e­brat­ing this date with crêpes would bring good luck and pros­per­ity, by chas­ing away the bad weather and herald­ing the ar­rival of spring.

Even to­day, La Chandeleur is very pop­u­lar with French peo­ple but it is more out of rou­tine, tra­di­tion and a love of crêpes, than the re­li­gious rea­sons the cel­e­bra­tion be­gan with.

French peo­ple also hold a gold coin in their hand when flip­ping the crêpes and if caught, that would guar­an­tee pros­per­ity and good luck for the year ahead.

Other tra­di­tions are for crêpes to be only eaten af­ter 8pm and to place the first one in­side or on top of a cup­board, to ward off poverty and as­sure a boun­ti­ful har­vest.

The flavour of your meal is re­ally only lim­ited to your imag­i­na­tion, but one of the most fa­mous styles is crêpes suzette, in­vented by Au­guste Es­coffier, made up of Grand Marnier, orange and le­mon, be­fore be­ing flam­béed for the ex­tra wow fac­tor.

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