At breaktime today pupils tucked into delicious French crêpes to celebrate la Chandeleur, or Pancake Day as we call it. The Modern Foreign Languages Department cooked up a French feast serving crêpes with sugar, lemon and chocolate spread.
The day marks the end of the Christmas period coming exactly 40 days after Christmas and is a Catholic holiday, Candlemas.
The word "chandeleur" comes from "chandelle" meaning candle which associates it with light (the day is sometimes referred to as la fête de la Lumière) but like most celebrations to do with the Nativity, Chandeleur is also traditionally linked to purification and fecundity, being the day the Virgin Mary was allowed back into the church having given birth to Jesus.
There are lots of superstitions associated with the day. For example it’s recommended to toss the crêpe in the pan with your right hand while holding a piece of gold in your left, for good luck of course. Another old tradition saw people putting the first crêpe in a drawer or on top of a wardrobe to attract prosperity for the coming year. Tradition says that a rainy day means another 40 days of rain. Indeed, you might hear the French say "Quand il pleut pour la Chandeleur, il pleut pendant quarante jours". Thankfully we haven't seen rain today, just lots of hungry pupils munching on French crêpes!