EASTER SO LETS GO FISHING!
and watch out for that flying bell!
starts on April 1 with the “Poissons d’Avril” meaning “April fish”.
These little chocolate fish (wrapped in shiny foil) are on sale from
that date and throughout the Easter period.
d'Avril" also refers to an April 1 joke when children have
traditionally stuck paper fish on the back of adults and then run away
calling out “Poisson d’Avril”. The aim is to get the paper fish stuck on the backs
of as many adults as possible. So watch your back on April 1!
The Boulangerie and Chocolaterie windows are full of impressive Easter
displays of eggs, rabbits and also bells! Why bells?
“Cloches de Pâques” (Easter Bells) originate from a time when it was
forbidden to ring the Church bells between Maundy Thursday and Easter
Sunday as a act of respect for Jesus Christ’s death. The bells
come to life again ringing out joyfully on Easter Sunday to celebrate
Christ's resurrection. It was
believed that the bells flew to Rome on the evening of Maundy Thursday
where they were blessed by the Pope. On their way home the bells
collected Easter Eggs which fell in
gardens to be collected by children on Easter
Sunday after the bells rang out. "La chasse aux oeufs" (Egg hunt) is
equally popular in other countries!
A traditional French Easter game is for children to roll raw eggs down a slope
with the unbroken egg becoming the winner. This game symbolises the rolling away of the
stone from Christ’s tomb.
Apparently the present day Easter Egg giving tradition started in Alsace with
written mention of this at the begining of the 17th Century.
Alsace tradition is the eating of Osterlammele which are biscuits baked
in a clay mould in the shape of a lamb. Osterlammele were presented to
children after the Easter Monday church service and this tradition
continues as the prettily decorated biscuits are sold in the
boulangeries of Alsace.
Alsace heralds in Easter with house windows
decorated with branches covered with decorative eggs, flowers and small
figurines. Children make nests from moss or leaves and twigs and
leave these in the garden so that the bells can drop the eggs into them
as they fly past.
In France Easter Sunday and Monday are public holidays but surprisingly
not Good Friday when business and shops are open as usual.
The word Pâcques
– French for Easter – derives from the Latin word Pascua meaning Food.
Easter is the time for
feasting and celebrating following the long Lenten period.
The traditional Easter Sunday lunch is roast lamb for main course with
entrées including quiche or omelette in some form.
Lent of course starts in
February following the Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday) celebrations.
Mardi Gras is hugely popular throughout France where there are parades
through towns, people dress up in costumes and of course pancakes are