When is pancake day in France celebrated?
Pancake day in France is always celebrated on the 2nd February.
Known as la Chandeleur in France, it is also a Catholic holiday which comes under the name of Candelmas and takes place 40 days after Christmas Day.
In the Catholic calendar the date commemorates the purification of the Virgin Mary and the presentation of baby Jesus to the temple in Jerusalem.
Needless to say, Pancake day in France also goes by the name of crepe day!
For two weeks prior to the celebrations, the ingredients for making pancakes are given a prominent place on supermarket shelves, usually right near the checkouts.
Flour, eggs, milk, lemon juice and that well known chocolate hazelnut spread usually take centre stage along with bottles of cider.
What has cider got to do with pancakes, you may ask?
Well, the Brittany region is most associated with crepes and this just happens to be one of the main cider-producing regions in France too.
But don’t make the mistake of drinking your cider from a glass. Oh no, it has to be drunk from a bowl, don’t you know!
In days gone by, the making of crèpes was a way to use up last seasons’ flour before seeds were sown for the coming harvest.
It is thought that their round shape is symbolic of the sun and the return of daylight after the long winter days.
This light is what allows precious seeds to grow into the crop which will produce next year’s flour.
This could be one of the reasons why Candelmas is also known as the Fête de la Lumière, or festival of light.
The word Chandeleur actually stems from the word chandelle which means candle.
On pancake day in France you shouldn’t simply stuff your face with pancakes at breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Oh no, you should wait until at least 20h00 before whipping up that batter and christening the crepe pan.
Traditions on pancake day in France
The French being the French, there are of course many customs associated with pancake day. One of the most widely held belief is that of the gold coin.
Hold a gold coin (you have a few of those lying around, I’m sure!) in your writing hand and a crêpe pan in the other, and flip the crêpe into the air.
If you manage to catch the crêpe in the pan, your family will be prosperous for the rest of the year.
How do you like your pancakes?
Are you a traditionalist who prefers just a squeeze of lemon and a sprinkling of sugar on your pancakes?
Or are you more of a chocolate hazelnut spread and banana sort of person?
Or why not go the full hog and have a delicious crepe suzette doused in grand marnier and topped with Chantilly cream….. mmmm