Joyeuses Pâques: Happy Easter!
Whether you are celebrating today religiously or secularly, Easter is just as important to the French as it is to Americans; large family gatherings, a beautiful meal and egg hunts for all my friends! And chocolate, lots and lots of chocolate – chocolate, egg-laying hens, little chocolate bunnies and lambs, and – the most popular in France – chocolate formed into eggs.
Most American children are visited in the middle of the night by a basket-toting rabbit (a tradition linked to Germanic pagans and thus adopted by many in the Alsace region of France.) In my family, the Easter Bunny fills a basket with some chocolates and a few books. He hides the baskets inside our home, eats a bite or two of a carrot, hops outside and hides a dozen or more pre-decorated, hard-boiled eggs.
While we were living in France, however, it was the church bells, les Cloches de Pâques, who carried out the deed. To commemorate the death of Jesus, between Good Friday and Easter Sunday, the Catholic church silences all its bells. With churches, donning and ringing bells galore, around every corner – especially in large cities – the sudden silence can be a bit unnerving, especially for a child. At some-unbeknownst-to-me point in history, French parents began telling their children that the bells simply grew wings and flew off to Rome to get their blessings from the pope. (In my opinion, equally as logical as a giant white rabbit.) When the bells arrive back to the churches early Sunday morning to ring again, they drop eggs and little sweets and treats (mostly chocolate) at all the good little children’s homes.
No matter how you celebrate today: with family or friends, at church or in your garden bed, with ham or with lamb, do not miss your opportunity to eat chocolate, lots and lots of it.
For all you could ever want to know about chocolate (and a quick recipe you can make today!) click here
For one step further, make your own chocolate truffle eggs
For a traditional French, Easter dish click here
- Libby Oroza