Type to search

Life in Rural France

Living the French Dream….The Good, The Bad, and The Hilarious

A picture of a Crêpe with a black heart with writing on

La Chandeleur | A French Tradition in February

Who doesn’t love crêpes? Just the smell of them being cooked gets me every time. Well, if you love crêpes as much as I do then you’ll love this French tradition.

One of the things I love about living in France is the many traditions that often originated in Medieval times and are still honoured today. And one of those is La Chandeleur pronounced as “shan-duh-lur”.

Also known as Candlemas, it’s a holiday celebrated in France on February 2nd every year. It marks the end of the Christmas season and the beginning of spring. It’s a time of rich traditions and superstitions that have been passed down from generation to generation.

The History and Significance of La Chandeleur

La Chandeleur has its roots in both pagan and Christian celebrations. In pagan times, it was a festival that honoured the goddess of the hearth and celebrated the return of spring.

In the Christian tradition, it marks the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple, when Mary and Joseph brought the baby Jesus to be consecrated to God. This event is also known as Candlemas because of the candles that were lit in the church in honour of the occasion.

It’s a time of celebration and renewal, as the end of winter is symbolized by the return of the sun and the arrival of spring.

This is where the crêpes come into play. Crêpes symbolize the sun, and it’s believed that flipping them while cooking with your right hand and holding a coin in your left will bring good fortune for the coming year.

A picture of a Crêpe with a black heart with writing on

Traditions and Superstitions of La Chandeleur

Eating Crêpes: Eating crêpes on La Chandeleur is also considered lucky. It’s believed that the more crêpes you eat, the more wealth and prosperity you’ll have in the coming year.

Lighting Candles: In many parts of France, it’s customary to light candles and place them in windows to bring light and warmth to the home.

Blessing the Home: On La Chandeleur, its traditional to bless the home by carrying a candle around it and saying a prayer for protection and good fortune. It’s a way to purify the home and start the new year with a clean slate.

Divination: La Chandeleur is also a time for divination, when people try to predict the future. For example, it’s believed that if the sun shines on La Chandeleur, spring will come early. If it rains, the winter will be long and harsh.

Planting Seeds: La Chandeleur is also a time to plant seeds, symbolizing the start of the growing season and the return of spring. In some parts of France, it’s customary to plant onions or leeks, as they are believed to bring good luck and prosperity.

La Chandeleur and Love: In some regions of France, La Chandeleur is also a time to predict love and marriage. For example, it is believed that if a woman drops a crêpe while cooking, she’ll be married within the year.

I for one love these traditions and just hope that when I make my crêpes tonight that I don’t drop them. The last thing I want is a long harsh winter.

The Different Types of Crêpes

Crêpes are thought to have originated in Brittany where they’re traditionally made with buckwheat flour. As a Brit I’m used to pancakes made with white flour and sprinkled with sugar and lemon.

We usually have them on Shrove Tuesday to celebrate the start of Lent. When I was little Mum would make several of them and we’d eat them literally as they came out the pan.

Here in France though it isn’t just the sweet variety you’ll see as both sweet and savoury are popular. And for La Chandeleur a crêpe is often washed down with a glass of cider.

Pancakes arranged on plates with pots of jam

Sweet Crêpes

Crêpes Suzette: Crêpes Suzette are crêpes made with orange liqueur and sugar, and then flambéed with Grand Marnier.

Nutella Crêpes: Nutella is perfect for the chocolate lovers with a sweet tooth

Sugar Crêpes: Sprinkled with sugar and lemon juice these are the traditional ones from my childhood we had on pancake day

Fruit Crêpes: Filled with fresh fruit, such as strawberries, bananas, or blueberries, and then topped with whipped cream or ice cream.

Mushroom pancakes on a plate with some salad

Savoury Crêpes

Ham and Cheese Crêpes: One of the most popular savoury varieties, filled with cooked ham and melted cheese.

Ratatouille Crêpes: I haven’t tried these but they’re a traditional French dish made from stewed vegetables.

Seafood Crêpes: These are yummy and filled with seafood, such as shrimp, scallops, or crab, along with cheese and herbs.

Mushroom Crêpes: Filled with sautéed mushrooms, cheese, and herbs they’re a great vegetarian option.

At the end of the day whether you prefer sweet or savoury, there is a crêpe for everyone!

À bientôt et merci beaucoup!

Join me as I live my French Dream and subscribe to the Life in Rural France Newsletter Today!

Living in France Quiz
Life in Rural France