Feb 4, 2008

Le Chandeleur

In Belgium and France, the second day of February is a religious day and celebrated like a Candlemas. It is called Le Chandeleur and is also day for predicting the future, similar to Groundhog Day in the United States, but without the furry rodent. Since it is France, is not a underground critter that foresees your fortune - it's a crêpe!

You gotta love France. Always thinking with their stomachs.

In the Christian religion, Candlemas celebrates the day when baby Jesus was taken to the Temple forty days after his birth. He was brought before Simeon who declared Him "the Light of the World." The celebration of La Chandeleur originates from the Middle Ages when candles, especially those blessed in the church, were thought to chase evil demons away.

Where the crepe came from? Who knows. In the Perigord (Dordogne) the tradition is to also give a crepe to the chickens in hopes that they bring eggs all year long. I asked a local farmer (logical in my opinion) why crepes? why chickens (and not the livestock)? And what if you don't have chickens? I received the typical French response: "There are a lot of 'whys' that can not be answered".


He later gave up that a neighbor will suffice if you don't have chickens. A supply of eggs can't be guaranteed, unless your neighbor is Foghorn Leghorn.

So, for you lovers of French custom (and for those who don’t’ but are curious anyway), you can start the tradition at home. Ingredients required: Candles, matches, coin, crepe mix, pan and spatula for flipping, and a positive attitude.

Chase your evil spirits away (or any republicans) by lighting candles all over the house. Make the crepe batter. Gather your family around the stove and drop the batter into the hot pan. You hold a euro (quarter, penny, gold piece from your treasure chest) in your left hand (in your right if you are left handed) and with your right hand (or left) you flip the crepe. If it lands properly, a year of prosperity is yours.

My crepe landed on the floor. Lord only knows what that means for my upcoming year. (I am turning 40 after all).

Here's to your successful flip...(and landing), and to a prosperous year ahead.

(no groundhogs or republicans were injured or burned during this celebration).

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