« A la Chandeleur, l'hiver se passe ou prend vigueur. »
One of the best things about teaching French again is the opportunity to share cultural activities with my students. In France, the month of February begins with La Chandeleur, 40 days after Christmas. This religious celebration recalls the Presentation of Jesus to the Temple (Luke 2:22-40), but its origins date back to a pagan ritual of lighting candles to purify the new year. The Church adapted the tradition into a blessing of candles to protect and sanctify the homes of believers. Since February is the the start of the growing season, seeds are also blessed and planted. Finally, having almost made it through the winter, the tradition is to celebrate prosperity and renewal by indulging in crêpes.
In keeping with tradition, my students held a gold coin in one hand, made wishes, and flipped a crêpe with the other. Most were skillful enough to catch the crêpe in the pan, so their wishes are bound to come true before this year's harvest. Flipping crêpes was fun, but of course the best part was eating them! The girls brought classic toppings including berries, chocolate, Nutella, powdered sugar, and whipped cream, but some also added an American touch with peanut butter! We all agreed that this tradition is much more fun than wondering if the groundhog will see his shadow.
"Bright reds - scarlet, pillar-box red, crimson or cherry...
There is certainly a red for everyone." ~ Christian Dior
It has become my February tradition to focus on rosy hues, on hearts and flowers and beautiful tokens of affection that brighten these winter days and make this month short and sweet. Enjoy the loveliness of the next 29 days.