Every year, in February, we eat pancakes for everyone's pleasure. But, what is exactly Chandeleur, why do people eat crepes that day? And what is the relationship with the word "Chandelle" (candle)?
The Chandeleur, formerly "Chandeleuse", is celebrated on February 2nd, 40 days after Christmas. Its name comes from the word "chandelle" ( "candle").
HISTORY OF THE CHANDELEUR
At the time of the Romans, it was a feast in honor of the god Pan. Throughout the night the believers roamed the streets of Rome, waving torches. In 472, the Pope made it a religious festival, which would become the celebration of the presentation of Jesus in the temple. Candle processions were held on Chandeleur, according to a precise technique: each believer must collected a candle in the church and take it home with care to keep it lit.
This blessed candle was supposed to have other powers. It was said that a few drops of its wax poured on hatching eggs ensure a good hatching. And also that its flame protected from lightning during the storm.
In the meantime, another tradition emerged : crepes! This tradition refered to a distant myth that if a peasant did not make crepes on the day of Chandeleur, the wheat would be damaged for the year.
Besides, by making the pancakes, the peasants must respected the custom of "the piece of gold".
They were supposed to blew the first pancake with the right hand while holding a gold coin in the left hand. The gold coin was next wrapped in the crepe before being carried in procession by the whole family into the room where it was placed at the top of the cupboard until the following year. Then, they recovered the debris from the crepe of last year to give the gold coin to the first poor man.
If all these rites were respected, the family was assured of having money all year round.
Today, processions with candles and other rites no longer exist but French have kept the tradition of crepes and trhey are right, because that is sooo good!
If you want to celebrate this delicious tradition too, here is an easy recipe of crepes!