Today is candlemas in France – or as they call it here, la Chandeleur. It is one of the oldest feasts in Christian history that marks the presentation of Jesus Christ to the temple. According to Jewish customs of Christ’s day and still so among conservative Jews, mothers who gave birth were required to present themselves and their newborns 40 days after the birth date to undergo a process of purification. So, candlemas within Latin Rite christianity falls 40 days after Christmas. (well, this is a very short version of the history of the feast. Nonetheless…)
Until now, my ideas of Candlemas’ before France basically entailed run-of-the-mill lighting of candles, and perhaps attending mass set to Bach pieces or choral music.
Not so in France. La Chandeleur is marked by the eating of crepes. 10 points to France for tying the feast to a beloved food item.These are to be prepared and consumed after 8pm. More so, whoever gets to prepare them should try to flip a crepe while holding a coin in the other hand. If they can do so, this is viewed then as a sign of certain prosperity in the year ahead. Now, I am not too sure about the economic and financial reasoning here but in any case, I guess the task of flipping the crepe will be in the hands of my partner who has much better coordination of joints and muscles.
Another thing is for sure, flipping a crepe at fast speed while holding a coin and the superstitious guarantee of wealth is far more exciting than my staid, Anglican expectations of mass, candles, incense and Bach.