My candles are lit … but no pancakes for me today …

Today the French eat pancakes. (Tourists to France eat them any day of the year and I think they think that the French do so too!) The pancake eating is because it is Chandeleur. Its official name in the English-speaking world is of course the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, but it’s more […]

Today the French eat pancakes. (Tourists to France eat them any day of the year and I think they think that the French do so too!)

The pancake eating is because it is Chandeleur. Its official name in the English-speaking world is of course the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, but it’s more commonly known as Candlemas. It is to commemorate (celebrate) the day that Josef and Mary (or Mary and Josef) took the baby Jesus to the Temple in Jerusalem for the redemption of the firstborn according to the Law of Moses. Under Moses’ Law Mary also had to undergo the ritual purification a woman had/has to undergo 40 days after childbirth.

Therefore 40 days after Christmas – February 2 – it is Chandeleur here in France and the French eat crêpes – pancakes.

They also perform a little ritual while making the pancakes. They hold a coin in their writing hand and the pancake pan in the other, and they flip the pancake into the air. If they manage to catch the pancake it means that the entire family will be prosperous all year.

Then they also light candles because always on this 40th day after Christ’s presentation at the Temple the village priests blessed the candles that would be used in the churches throughout the year. The faithful could also take candles to the priests to be blessed.

I bought my candles at my local LeClerc (chain supermarket) but I am sure that they are no less blessed than say the candles that the Pope will light today when he celebrates the Purification Mass in St. Peter’s in Rome.

Why will I have candles lit today? I burn candles every day …

Marilyn Z. Tomlins

One Response to “My candles are lit … but no pancakes for me today …”

  1. 1
    Jo Says:

    There is something of a confusion as to the word pancakes here. What North Americans call pancakes are like the things we called flapjacks or waffles. The Crèpes as served in France and England, and called pancakes by the English are also called crèpes here, NOT pancakes. Two nations divided by a common language!!!

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