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  5. 02/02: c'est la Chandeleur!


02/02: c'est la Chandeleur!

Hi fellow Duolinguists,

Today is kind of a special day because we're celebrating the Chandeleur in France. I think it is also celebrated in Belgium and Switzerland.

Qu'est-ce que c'est?

Well, it is an ancient pagan celebration of Light: Chandeleur means Fête des Chandelles, "une chandelle" being a candle.

For the Latinists out there, this celebration is called festa candelarum in Latin.

Then, the Catholic Church transformed this celebration into a holy day, the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple, forty days after Christmas.

But back to the pagan version: in order to celebrate the Sun, people would make thin pastries with the rest of wheat from the previous year. To still have some was said to be a sign of prosperity for the year to come, because February was the time when you started sowing the fields. These pastries were round and golden, just like the sun... Yep, I'm talking about crêpes.

Today is thus the day when we gobble up, uhm, I mean, eat, a lot of crêpes.

The tradition has evolved since when it first began, and if you want to be traditional, you have to flip one crêpe with the pan in your right hand while holding a gold coin in your left hand. I don't know about you, but I don't own any gold coin, so the biggest one you have works. If the crêpe falls back down on your pan correctly, you won't be in need of money this year.

And to go even further into the tradition, you have to keep the crêpe you flipped, fold it around the coin and put it above a wardrobe. Next year, for the Chandeleur, you'll take it, throw it away and give the coin to the first poor you meet.

Apart from my grandmother, I don't know any one who still does that, to be honest.

If you want to celebrate this (yaaaay), here's a recipe (in French, of course, it wouldn't be fun otherwise) :


No spelling mistake guaranteed ;) You can obviously change the recipe a little bit (add sugar because there's none in this one, or forget the orange zest). But the more liquid it is, the better it will be ;)

I have no idea what you put on your crêpes or pancakes but here, there's nothing better than some sugar and lemon... Miam.

If you have any question, feel free to ask!

And now, please excuse me, but I have some milk to buy...

Enjoy :)

February 2, 2015



That's Candlemas in English. We don't get pancakes for Candlemas, we have them for Shrove Tuesday, which is a fortnight away. I think we need to rectify this situation and eat them for both!


Definitely! Here it is called Mardi Gras and we eat beignets (kind of doughnuts)


Oh, I'll stick to the pancakes. We have them with lemon juice and sugar too.


Luscinda, do you make a syrup of the lemon juice and sugar? I have never heard of doing so, but it sounds good.


No, the old fashioned way is to sprinkle the pancake with white granulated sugar, squeeze a lemon over it, and roll it up. Your way sounds much fancier.

I like melted marmalade and a bit of chocolate flake on mine.


Traditionally here, it is maple syrup. Marmalade and chocolate sound delish. Definitely will try that.


We used to have golden syrup when we were kids. Very sweet.


Lovely. Thanks for the cultural lesson and an excuse to make crepes. I use Madame Fletcher's (great French name, huh :) ) recipe from high school. She used some orange juice in the recipe and used Buerre de Suzette as a topping. Cream together 6 Tbsp of softened butter with 2 Tbsp of orange juice and 7 Tbsp of confectioners sugar. It's good on many things.


Orange juice is a good idea! It is also quite common to add rhum, or beer!


What's confectioner's sugar when it's at home?


Home where? ;-) In Canada, when I read that in a recipe, I reach for the icing sugar.


cheers thanks for the recipe


It is celebrated in Italy as well! ;-) We call it "Candelora". We also make a "weather check" on this day: there is an ancient proverb saying "Sole a Candelora/dell'inverno semo fora/ma se piove e tira vento/nell'inverno semo dentro", that is, if it is good weather, then winter is over, otherwise it will last. There are many regional variations, though: for example, someone says "Per la santa Candelora se nevica o se pioa dell'inverno semo fora", which is exactly the opposite...


Thanks for the information! :D Proverbs saved on my computer ;)

You can also find sayings in French in the same style, like À la Chandeleur, l'hiver se meurt ou prend vigueur (either winter dies or gets stronger) or one I like and comes from Bordeaux: Si le ciel n'est ni clair ni beau, nous aurons plus de vin que d'eau (If the sky is neither clear nor nice, we'll have more wine than water).


I don't know about any religious traditions here in Hungary (but maybe there are some), but we have a saying that on this day the bear comes out of its cave and if it sees its shadow (=the weather is good), he will go back to sleep because it will still be cold for a while, but if it doesn't see a shadow (=the weather is bad), he will stay outside and spring is coming!:)


There should be a similar saying in the United States, but involving a groundhog. Anyway, did the bear stay out yesterday?


No, I think he didn't because the sun was shining. We'll have a long winter:/

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