‘Candlemas Day is clear and bright,
winter will have another bite.
If Candlemas Day brings cloud and rain,
winter is gone and will not come again.’
Today is Candlemas – known in France as a Chandeleur or Fête de la Lumière. It comes 40 days after December 24th and is seen to mark the end of the Christmas period, for the day celebrates the presentation of the child Jesus at the temple
As a further name Jour des crêpes suggests, the food for 2nd February should be pancakes, which must require a special form of preparation. Your writing hand should be employed in the frying of the crêpe while holding a gold coin in the other hand, in order to bring happiness for the next year. Furthermore, when tossed the pancake should land flat in the pan, if you are to have prosperity during 2019 – and they should only be eaten after 2000hrs in the evening.
The crêpe’s appearance also symbolises the sun as the winter darkness slowly begins to recede. This allowed more hours to tend the fields, as seed-time commences during this time of year. Phrases such as ‘Chandeleur couverte, quarante jours de perte’ – forty more lost days if the ground is covered with snow – or ‘Rosée à la Chandeleur, hiver à sa dernière heure’ –
Dew on Candlemas, winter at its final hour – reflect a time when a largely agrarian society was dependent upon the weather for its prosperity.
In Brittany, anyone who managed to turn six crêpes in a row would be married before the end of the year, and another tradition from that region was for a young bride to throw a newly made crêpe on top of the wardrobe to maintain her relationship. However, we really do not recommend the latter practice at Chateau de Bois Giraud- come March, the ensuing aroma will not be at all pleasant.
And wherever you may be – a Happy Candlemas.