In France, February 2nd is a day of celebration known as La Chandeleur, also called Candlemas. This special day is dedicated to the creation and consumption of delicious crêpes, a thin French pancake that is both versatile and tasty. But how did this tradition start, and why is it so important to the French culture?
Origins of La Chandeleur
La Chandeleur has its roots in ancient pagan traditions that celebrated the return of light and the end of winter. It was a time of purification and renewal, and it was customary to light candles and bonfires to symbolize the increasing daylight. In the Christian era, the holiday was adapted to commemorate the presentation of Jesus at the Temple and the purification of the Virgin Mary. The day was also associated with the blessing of candles, which were used to ward off evil spirits and bring good fortune.
The crêpe connection
So, where do crêpes come in? One theory suggests that the round and golden crêpes symbolize the sun, and by eating them, people are celebrating the return of light and warmth. Another theory relates to the tradition of flipping the crêpe while holding a coin in one hand. If you can flip the crêpe successfully, it's said to bring good luck for the coming year. This tradition dates back to the 13th century and was associated with the feast of the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple.
The tradition today
Today, La Chandeleur is still celebrated across France, and crêpes are the star of the show. Whether sweet or savory, crêpes are a staple of French cuisine, and on this day, they are made and eaten in abundance. In fact, it's estimated that over 50 million crêpes are consumed on La Chandeleur alone!
If you're looking to celebrate La Chandeleur yourself, there are a few rules to follow. First, make sure to hold the pan in your right hand while flipping the crêpe with your left. This is said to ensure prosperity and good luck. Second, make sure to fill your crêpes with delicious ingredients, such as Nutella, cheese, or fruit. And finally, don't forget to wash it all down with a glass of cider, a popular drink to accompany crêpes in France.
La Chandeleur is a beloved tradition in France that celebrates the end of winter and the return of light. And what better way to celebrate than with the delicious and versatile crêpe? So, next time you find yourself in France on February 2nd, be sure to join in the festivities and indulge in this culinary delight. And if you're not in France, why not try making crêpes at home and starting a new tradition of your own?