Candlemas: why do we eat pancakes on this day?

La Chandeleur is tomorrow! For children but also adults, this day is synonymous with indulgence thanks to the famous pancakes. But where does this tradition of eating pancakes on Candlemas come from?

  Candlemas: why do we eat pancakes on this day?

This Thursday, February 2, we celebrate the Candlemas ! This feast, also called 'candlelight festival' , is a delight for little gourmets and adults alike. During this day, with family but also with friends, we usually prepare pancakes, we sauté the first in the pan and we eat them while still hot, with a sweet or savory touch. For some, it's the gourmet festival par excellence, and yet Candlemas isn't just about that. It is also a religious celebration which has its own history and traditions. Here is all the information you need to know about Candlemas and especially the pancake tradition.

What is the origin of Candlemas?

Candlemas is originally a pagan festival. e which honored fecundity, fertility and purification, and so some deities. Over the years, in the 5th century, the Church reclaimed Candlemas Day in honor of Jesus. According to Catholic tradition, Candlemas originally celebrates the presentation of the infant Jesus Christ in the Temple of Jerusalem , precisely 40 days after his birth. It is in memory of this event that from 492 an annual procession was organized, during which blessed candles were lit. Candlemas has since been one of the twelve major liturgical feasts celebrated by the Orthodox Church.

Why do we eat pancakes on Candlemas?

It was during one of these religious processions that the traditional sharing of pancakes on Candlemas was born. . In order to encourage and reward the many pilgrims who have come to Rome to celebrate Candlemas, Pope Gelasius I distributed pancakes to them, called 'oublies' at that time, thus giving birth to a tradition that is still respected. Over time, the pancakes also became a token of allegiance of the farmers to their lords, who were offered them every year. Since then, the tradition has remained and we continue to prepare and eat pancakes every February 2.

Our activities and drawings on the theme of Candlemas

At Candlemas, children enjoy pancakes but not only. They also have fun making culinary recipes which change from the traditional pancakes. Not forgetting some Candlemas themed designs that they love to color for the occasion. If you are lacking activities to do with children , here is the complete file of Hugo the snail on Candlemas:

Which countries celebrate Candlemas?

La Chandeleur is mainly celebrated in France, but also in Belgium . In the United States, Candlemas does not exist. Instead, Americans celebrate February 2 as Groundhog Day, which predicts the end of the winter season.

What is the Christian meaning of Candlemas?

For Christians, Candlemas has a important meaning, which is found in the candles . The Candlemas Festival takes its name from the Latin the festival of candles which means 'candlelight festival', referring to the candles traditionally used to represent the light of Jesus Christ. In churches, even today, candles are blessed and lit to symbolize Christ as the light of the world and represent the purity that wards off evil.

Why February 2 is Candlemas?

At the time, in the peasant world, February 2 symbolized the end of winter and the return to agricultural work . The blessed candles were therefore kept by the superstitious peasants who relit them in order to protect future harvests and their homes. In 2023, Candlemas takes place on Thursday February 2, and in 2024, we will therefore celebrate Candlemas on Friday, February 2.

What are the traditions of Candlemas?

As with many holidays, several traditions are associated with Candlemas . To counter bad luck, on the day of Candlemas many are those who popping their first pancake in the pan with their right hand, with a Louis d'or in their left hand. It's a lucky rite. Still others throw this first pancake over the cupboard, still out of belief...

What superstitions are related to Candlemas?

In the past, for a harvest to be good and a family not to lack money, it was necessary sauté the first crepe with your right hand, keeping a louis d'or in the other hand. Then, the piece had to be wrapped in a crepe placed at the top of a cupboard. The following year, the coin had to be recovered and given to the first poor person crossed. Another tradition that this time concerned young single people who were desperate to meet a soul mate: they had to pop six pancakes in a row and not drop them to be sure to be married within the year!

What are Candlemas sayings?

Like other religious holidays, there are sayings surrounding Candlemas, related to meteorology. Among the most famous:

  • 'At Candlemas, winter goes away or takes rigor'
  • 'If Candlemas weeps, winter does not remain'
  • 'Candlemas at your door, it's the end of the dead leaves'.

Who invented pancakes?

Pancakes would have appeared 7000 years before Jesus Christ. Previously, they took the form of a relatively thick pancake, made with a mixture of water and crushed cereal. They were then cooked on a flat and hot stone or thanks to a plate placed in the fireplace. It wasn't until the 13th century that pancakes first appeared in Brittany and began to be made with buckwheat brought back to France after the crusades in Asia. Called the 100-day plant, buckwheat quickly flourished in this humid region with a temperate climate and acidic soil. Pancakes were then called Krampouez in Breton. It is therefore the buckwheat pancake who was born first because the pancake made from wheat flour did not appear until the beginning of the 20th century.