What is La Chandeleur? (French pancake day)

Hands up if you love a French crêpe!

When you’re learning French, it’s not enough to just learn some vocab and gobble down the grammar books. Until you explore the culture and traditions of this beautiful country you’ll only get half a story. So it’s important to spend some time getting au fait with some of the festivals and traditions which exist in France (especially if you’re thinking of moving over there).

One such tradition takes place on the 2nd February: ‘La Chandeleur’ (a.k.a. French pancake day). Whilst it started out as a religious holiday it is now basically a day to celebrate this delicious French food in all its glory. French families will traditionally eat crêpes in the evening and children may take pancakes to school to share with friends.

The shape of the crêpe is said to symbolise the coming return of the Sun and in fact there are several mentions of the weather on La Chandeleur. Some sayings you might here are:

Quand il pleut pour la Chandeleur, il pleut pendant quarante jours” (If it rains on Chandeleur, it will rain for 40 days)

Soleil de la Chandeleur, annonce hiver et malheur” (If it’s sunny on Chandeleur wintry weather and misfortune lies ahead).

It’s also a pretty superstitious occasion. In some parts of France you might see someone put a coin on top of the crepe whilst it cooks to bring luck. Others insist on holding a coin in your right hand while you flip the crêpe with your left. A successful flip will bring luck and prosperity in the year ahead (we’d better start practising…).

So if you do find yourself in France on 2nd February, make sure you stock up on eggs, flour and milk (and of course…Nutella) so that you don’t miss out on this joyous day of indulgence!

If you are thinking of moving to France and want to improve your French we’d love to help you. Book a FREE 15 minute consultation today.

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