Why Do French People Eat Crêpes for La Chandeleur?
You have probably seen crêpes everywhere on the internet these past few days. If you hang out with French people or live in France, you’ve heard the word ‘chandeleur” many times. Are you still, wondering what all the fuss is about? Once again, we’ve got your back! It’s time to discover some French secrets, sharing is caring as they say…
French people have a lot of traditions, including “The Apéro”, but this one is not a secret for you anymore… (if it is, you can still check out our article here!)
The French tradition La Chandeleur (Candlemas) takes place on the 2nd of February. Actually, it is considered the last cycle of the Christmas celebration. In religious tradition, Christians were only meant to clear Christ’s manger scene after la Chandeleur. Despite its religious roots, “La Chandeleur” is now somewhat of a non-secular tradition in France so everyone, no matter what their religion can partake in eating crêpes.
You’d be hard-pressed to find a French person who can tell you why they eat crêpes for Chandeleur but the custom can be traced back to superstitions that date back to the Roman times. It was believed if you made crêpes, it would bring you good fortune and a good wheat harvest. But the crêpe had to be made a special way.
“He who eats crêpes for Chandeleur is sure to have money all year long”
(Qui mange des crêpes quand la Chandeleur est arrivée, est sûr d’avoir argent pendant l’année.)
“If you don’t want rotten wheat, eat crêpes during Chandeleur”
(Si point ne veut de blé charbonneux Mange des crêpes à la Chandeleur)
You were supposed to flip the first crêpe in a pan with your right hand while holding a gold coin (preferably a gold Louis coin) in your left hand. The gold coin was then rolled into the crêpe and placed in the master’s room on top of a cabinet until the following year.
The following year, the coin was removed from the year-old crêpe and given to the first poor person they met to ensure prosperity until the next chandeleur. Makes me think of good karma.
Peasants also believed that by eating crêpes, they were ensuring a healthy wheat harvest for the coming year.
Today, candlelight processions and other rites no longer exist but the tradition of eating crêpes on Chandeleur remains and although extremely rare, some people still do flip the first Chandeleur crêpe holding a coin. 😉
(Makes 15 to 20 crêpes)
- 2 cups flour
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3 eggs
- 1/2 cup beer (lager)
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup water
- In a bowl, mix the flour, sugar, and salt.
- Make a well in the center, and pour the eggs. Whip them extending the well, to incorporate the flour gradually, and add the liquids little by little to avoid lumps.
- Heat a pan over high heat. Let melt a knob of butter in the pan, then pour a ladleful of batter, spreading it quickly across the surface of the pan.
- When the edges of the pancake start to brown and detach from the pan, flip the pancake to cook the other side.
Crêpes are usually eaten with different kinds of toppings such as Nutella, banana, confiture, a sprinkling of sugar & lemons.
If you want to do it the French way, try the Crêpe Suzette (with a sauce made of caramelized butter, sugar and orange juice, and Grand Marnier!
Also, as we love drinking red wine with cheese, we usually eat crêpes with Cider!