Tuesday, February 2, 2010

La Chandeleur - candles and pancakes!

La Chandeleur is Candlemas - 2nd February. It marks the end of the Christmas period (phew- long celebrations) and commemorates the day Jesus was presented in the Temple as was traditional for a Jewish baby at that time. People remember Jesus as the Light of the World, and his mother Mary, and the prophets Simeon and Anna, who caught a glimpse of what this new baby meant for the world. I did some of the usual Googling to find out more, and discovered this translation of a beautiful French Canadian prayer for la Chandeleur:

God our Father, source of all light,
today you revealed to Simeon
your Light of revelation to the nations.
Bless these candles and make them holy.
May we who carry them to praise your glory
walk in the path of goodness
and come to the light that shines for ever.
Grant this through Christ our Lord.

But the most popular French tradition at la Chandeleur is all about food.
Yes, our family celebrates two Pancake Days here - the French one today and the British one on Shrove Tuesday. Yum, yum!When we first arrived in France I enquired about the reasons for the pancakes on la Chandeleur and was told a lovely, moving story. It's the one I promised Sumea yesterday. However, all this Googling has completely failed to turn up any version of the story, so I'm beginning to think I was given a garbled version! Briefly, it was about a Pope who stopped his Candlemas celebrations in order to feed pancakes to the cold and hungry pilgrims outside St. Peter's. I think that's a great story - what Christian leadership should all be about, but unfortunately it seems to be totally unbased on fact, even Wiki-fact!
Instead, it seems to be more accurate to say that, "during the Lupercales, the Romans were already baking pancakes of flour and water, sweetened with honey. Their golden colour served as a symbol of the warm sun. The return of the sun was also highly anticipated by the people of Northern Europe and the Celts. Pope Gelase would feed the pilgrims with pancakes when they reached Rome. Crèpes were made with the flour from the previous wheat crop, and that flour could be used somewhat liberally since the new crop was not that far away anymore." So no specific reference to his generosity, more to his good sense in switching an old festival into a Christian one. He was North African - did you know there have been three North African popes?Well, what do you think of the sausages? This is a typical saussice de Toulouse - beloved of Son 2's former rugby BBQs. We decided to put sausages into the pancakes today.
I made a tomato-based sauce, too, and we finished with chocolate sauce and ice cream on some sweet pancakes!

May we... walk in the path of goodness
and come to the light that shines for ever.


VintageVicki said...

Pancakes & sausages - my eldest would love that!

Thanks for your comment on my blog - would love to go CS shopping with other bloggers - survival of the fittest I'd think!

Serenata said...

I'm fairly sure my boys would love that combination as well!

marigold jam said...

I didn't know that. Je me coucherai moins bete ce soir!!


Angela said...

Lovely post! thanks - off to find the candlesticks now!! blessings xx

Sophie - Chez Sophie said...

Oh, yummy. I love pancakes & with sausages as well, sounds & looks soo good.
Hope your feeling better.
Luv Sophie xxx

Elizabethd said...

Of course in Brittany....the home of crepes, it's all happening today! Lots of advertising, but no actual mention of anything but food.

jeannette stgermain said...

Didn't know about the Feb.2nd celebration.
O yes, I love to put everything on or in pancakes too! Banana and chocolate chips, and one with cheddar cheese are my faves.

Floss said...

Oh, I forgot to mention that there are 'Groundhog Day'-type traditions here for la Chandeleur too - if the bear sees the sun etc...

Anonymous said...

A Wonderful post, Floss. I so enjoyed reading about the French traditions and I particularly like the Beautiful prayer. The images are all Lovely too. Sausage with pancake! that's new for me. I will try it (but with vege sausage). For savoury pancakes I usualy use mushrooms or spinach. But my favourites are the traditional lemon pancake. Although am also partial to a combination of banana, maple syrup, chopped pistachios and chantilly that my daughter invented. Roll on Shrove Tuesday :o)

Warm February Hugs xxx


Shabby Chick said...

I'm starving now Floss!!!! Loved your post today.

Thank you for your kind words on my post, I'm really glad to have cheered you up with the shopping trip and I will try not to let the deserting follower upset me ;)

mel xxx

Mami said...

Thank you for giving a wonderful post. I've never heard of candlemas.

Keep warm and take care.

Yappy Dog said...

Thankyou floss, I really loved the Candlemas post. Some of the people of our Church had flashing Christmas fairy lights in their garden to mark the occasion.

Juanita Tortilla said...

Hmm. This is totally new to me. Candlemas or not, pancakes, crepes, and sausages, seem befitting as comfort food for this winter season.
Funny how we have made it a weekend "ritual" -- Saturday Sausage (although, poulet sausages), and Sunday Pancakes. My husband really looks forward to his breakfasts on weekends, haa!

Sarah said...

That sausage looks so yummy! Any excuse for pancakes in our house. The girls had me making them for their sleepover breakfast in the weekend. They must be one of the best deserts out.

How's your lad going with his leg. I keep thinking of that Jake the peg song when I think about it.

Michela said...

I've always heard my nan telling a Venitian proverb about "Madonna Candelora" related to winter, but never known the meaning of this commemoration..thank you for sharing!
Enjoy your celebration!

The Curious Cat said...

oooo delicious...made me think of pancake day... but that sausage looks so yum too! xxx

Temps perdu said...

Delicious;) And what a lovely story. Thank you.
I have tagged you for "7 things you might not know about me". I was tagged last week and wrote my list (Shallow grapefruit), if you´re interested to check it out.

Lululiz said...

Floss, you have made me so hungry now! We all love pancakes, and I often make crepes when we are in France. And the toulouse sausages are delicious, yep. We had one or two rather horrid experiences with French sausages when we first bought the cottage in France. I still shudder at the memory of one particular one.