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La Chandeleur Celebration in France

by Emilie Johnson

Every year on the 2nd of February, families all over France eat crêpes. The celebration is called “La Chandeleur” (Candlemas in English) and represents the final custom linked to the Christmas celebrations. La Chandeleur falls 40 days after the birth of Jesus Christ and is said to mark the presentation of the baby Christ at the temple in Jerusalem. I’ve also read that the tradition goes back even further to pagan times, where the celebration was a tribute to light and days becoming longer. The form of the crêpe is much like the sun and golden in color. In both celebrations, candlelight was an important element.

Excitement builds…I love this aspect of a simple celebration. The act of sharing a particular type of food becomes a ritual, something to look forward to, bringing light.

In our house in Provence, we make sure to light many candles and display flowers of the season as the centerpiece of the table: our early spring favorite, (fittingly bright and yellow): mimosas.

My husband ceremoniously makes the crêpe batter with our girls and we, like many French families, include a secret ingredient: half a glass of beer. We each have a couple of rounds of savory crêpes and then switch to the dessert ones.

Here is Xavier flipping the crêpes in a very French style. It is said that if one can hold a coin in his hand and flip the crêpe it is a sign of good luck and fortune for the coming year.

Here are a few links to recipes that we enjoy:

Basic recipe:
https://www.thekitchn.com/perfect-crepes-5-tips-from-suz-127425

Savory twist:
https://brooklynsupper.com/savory-crepes/

Dessert:
https://www.marthastewart.com/333996/dessert-crepes

And a link to a favorite recipe in French:
https://www.elle.fr/Elle-a-Table/Fiches-cuisine/Tous-les-themes/Chandeleur

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