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Why do we eat crepes on Candlemas Day?

29/01/2021

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Here it is, the long-awaited day has arrived! It is February 2nd, Candlemas Day! With winter coming, what better way to warm up than to organize a « crepe party » with the whole family? By the way, do you know where this tradition of eating crepes on Candlemas Day comes from? Let us find out the origins of this convivial tradition! Little Guest has also prepared for you a delicious crepe recipe to make at home on the occasion of this special day!  

 

Crêpes Chandeleur Little Guest

What are the origins of Candlemas Day?  

Candlemas and the Romans  

The word Candlemas is derived from the Latin « festa candelaria » or « the festival of candles »In Roman times, the festival of candles was a pagan tradition where the faithful honoured their dead and the god Pan by lighting candles and torches and walking through the streets all night long. Crepes were also eaten as a symbol of light 

A Christian Celebration 

In 472, Candlemas became a Judeo-Christian celebration and considered the feast of the presentation of Jesus Christ. According to Jewish tradition, a mother who has recently given birth must wait 40 days before presenting her new-born child to the priest. February 2nd, which falls exactly 40 days after Christmas, is therefore the day on which Mary presented Jesus Christ to the priest. On this occasion, candles were lit and blessed to bring good luck to the faithful and to ward off sickness and evil spirits for the year. The Pope also distributed crepes to the poor as a good omen. 

 

Why do we eat crepes on Candlemas Day? 

Round and golden crepes symbolize the Sun and light. At the time when agriculture was the only means of subsistence, eating crepes on February 2nd, when winter was coming to an end, was a way to ensure that the crops were plentiful throughout the year.   

Today, this agricultural dimension has disappeared, but we still enjoy delicious crepes with our family on February 2nd!  

At Little Guest, Candlemas Day is a moment of conviviality to share with the family. What could be better than preparing delicious crepes to gather the whole tribe?  

Here is our crepe recipe to make with your children which will delight the taste buds of the entire family:  

 

Little Guest - Candlemas Day Crepes

Download our crepe recipe in pdf!

 

Traditions and myths around Candlemas Day 

Did you know that Candlemas Day is celebrated in very different ways depending on the country and its traditions?  

  • In France, Belgium and Switzerland, it is traditional to bake crepes on February 2nd. In some homes, the person who bakes the crepe must hold a gold coin in their left hand while turning the crepe over with their right hand. If the pancake falls down correctly, it is a sign of prosperity for the year. Some people also wrap this coin in the first pancake and leave it above a cupboard for the year. The following year, the coin is recovered and offered to a beggar for good luck.  
  • In the United States and in Canada, Candlemas Day is replaced by « Groundhog Day«  which is linked to an old belief. According to the saying, when the bear or the groundhog comes out of its den and sees its shadow on the ground on February 2nd, it means that winter will still be long. If, on the other hand, there is no sun on February 2nd and the groundhog does not see its shadow, it means that winter will soon come to an end. 
  • In Marseille, navettessmall biscuits in the shape of a boat, are eaten on February 2nd in honour of the Black Virgin. The faithful also hold a procession in her honour. 
  • In England and Mexico, Candlemas crepes are replaced by crumpets for the first one and tamales for the second one. In Italyfarinata is eaten on February 2nd. In short, each country has its own version of our traditional crepe!

 

No matter what your traditions are, Little Guest hopes that you and your family will enjoy this moment  as well as delicious crepes 

 

Léna Little Guest

Léna, 23 years old, travel and food enthusiast, from Liège, Belgium

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