If you’ve taken healthy New Year resolutions after la Galette des Rois, you may need to wait ! Indeed, many French traditions revolve around food. We generally enjoy la Chandeleur, the delicious Crêpe day, on the 2nd of February. And if you’d like to talk more about our culture and lifestyle, feel free to join anytime a French conversation class.
Table of content
When do we celebrate La Chandeleur or Candlemas ?
The traditions and beliefs around la Chandeleur
Learn the perfect French Vocabulary for la Chandeleur
What are the different types of crêpes ?
1 When do we celebrate la Chandeleur, or Candlemas ?
Firstly, La Chandeleur, also known as Candlemas, is a traditional French holiday celebrated on the 2nd of February. However, it’s not a bank holiday ! Therefore, everything will be open as usual. It marks the end of the Christmas season and the beginning of spring. It’s definitely a time of celebration and renewal.
The holiday is characterized by the making and eating of crêpes, which is a traditional French dish. We will see that it is often served with a variety of sweet or savory fillings (a galette). So, La Chandeleur is a time to enjoy the company of family and friends.
And if you’d like to celebrate Candlemas all year round, La Bretagne, Brittany, is heaven ! Each region has delicious pastries, and Brittany is no exception. It is renown to be the crêpes paradise. The tradition of drinking cider with them comes from this region.
2 The traditions and beliefs around la Chandeleur
Originally, the word “Chandeleur” comes from “une chandelle” (a candle), which explain its association with light. This special day is sometimes referred to as la Fête de la Lumière. Actually, in Latin “Festa Candelarum” means candle festival. We talk about Candlemas because of the candles that were lit in the church in honour of the occasion.
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. It celebrated the return of spring. Later, it was then adopted into Roman times. It became known as the “festival of Lupercales”, in honour of Faunus, god of farm animals and fertility.
In the Christian tradition, it marks the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple. Mary and Joseph brought the baby Jesus to be consecrated to God on that day.
Did you know ? Your first crêpe should be prepared with the right hand, holding a coin in the left hand. If the crêpe falls correctly, it’s a sign that you won’t run out of money for the rest of the year !
Now, French have a famous proverb : “Quand il pleut pour la Chandeleur, il pleut pendant quarante jours”. This means “If it rains for La Chandeleur, it will rain for 40 days.” So let’s keep our fingers crossed for this year.
3 Learn the perfect French vocabulary for la Chandeleur
Now that you know the traditions of La Chandeleur, let’s see the essential vocabulary for crêpe day. To speak French like a native, you need to understand the main differences between :
Une crêpe : a thin sweet crêpe served with sugar, jam or chocolate spread
Une galette : a savoury crêpe, made with buckwheat flour
The ingredients to make crepes
du beurre : butter
la confiture : jam
de la farine : flour
de la farine de sarrasin : buckwheat flour
de l’huile : oil
du lait : milk
des oeufs : eggs
de la pâte à tartiner au chocolat : chocolate spread
du sel : salt
du sucre : sugar
Useful cooking verbs
ajouter : to add
chauffer : to heat
cuire : to cook
fondre : to melt
fouetter : to whisk
mélanger : to mix
retourner : to flip
verser : to pour
une assiette : a plate
un fouet : a whisk
une louche : a ladle
une poêle : a frying pan
un saladier / un bol : a bowl
4 What are the different types of crêpes ?
Finally, it’s time to grab your favorite toppings. Are you more a sweet or savoury person ? You’ll find on Marmiton and below tempting options for everyone. Bon appetit !
Sugar crêpes : These are the traditional ones, sprinkled with sugar
Chocolate crêpes : For chocolate lovers, these crêpes can be filled with Nutella or even better hot melted chocolate
Crêpes Suzette : Made with a sauce of caramelized sugar and butter, orange juice, zest, and Grand Marnier, triple sec or orange Curaçao liqueur on top, flambéed tableside
Banana crêpes : Filled with fresh bananas, sometimes with ice-cream, chantilly and/or hot chocolate too
Crêpes chantilly : Crêpes served with a generous serving of whipped cream
Salted butter crêpes : If you have a sweet tooth, this is the perfect choice, made with a salted butter sauce
Gâteau de crêpes : Like a mille-feuille, this crêpes cake is made layers upon layers of paper-thin crepes and velvety ganache
Ham and Cheese galette : Probably the most popular savoury varieties, filled with cooked ham and melted cheese.
Galette complète : If you add an egg to the ham and cheese, you’ll get this awesome galette
Mushroom galette : The best vegetarian option, filled with sautéed mushrooms, cheese, and herbs
Galette goat cheese and honey : It’s a great combination of sweet and savoury tastes
Salmon galette : For a lighter option, you could add salmon or any seafood you enjoy
Galette tartiflette : A very wintery galette made with potatoes, reblochon cheese, fresh cream, diced bacon and chives
In conclusion, la Chandeleur is a special tradition to enjoy with friends and/or family. You can prepare your own recipe, customize it the way you like and…. enjoy! It’s quite easy and everybody will be extremely pleased.