À la Chandeleur, l’hiver cesse ou reprend vigueur

It’s La Chandeleur, Fête de la Lumière today.  You might know it as Candlemas, and if you’re English, you’ve probably not given it a thought, or even knew it existed.
Here in France, you’ll certainly know all about it.  If you’re Catholic, you’ll remember the day as the one in which the Virgin Mary was purified after giving birth, and Jesus himself was presented at the Temple.
Catholic or not, the French eat a lot of crêpes today.  Apparently,  whilst making them, it’s traditional to hold a coin in your writing hand and a pan in the other, and flip the crêpe into the air. If you manage to catch the pancake in the pan, your family will be prosperous for the rest of the year.  It’s exactly half way though the official winter season, in any case.  Pancakes perhaps look a little like the sun, so they stand in for the sun – ‘la lumière’.
Winter sunlight looking like a crêpe?
More important than eating however, is seeing what Winter is thinking. He pays the day a lot of attention. He has decisions to make.  On this day, Winter will either pack his bags and disappear till the end of Autumn, or he’ll settle in, and make his presence thoroughly felt for quite a few more weeks.  Hence the expression:
À la Chandeleur, l’hiver cesse ou reprend vigueur
At Candlemas, winter ends or strengthens.
It looks pretty much as though he’s decided though.  Today the temperatures plunge from a high of minus 3, to a low of minus 10 (and feeling like minus 16), and the ten day forecast is worse.  Tomorrow, for example, it promises to be minus 9 at 10.00 a.m. and feel like minus 16.
It’s quite nice not to have to wait till Shrove Tuesday for the first pancakes of the year though.  Even better that we can be snug indoors today and hope for Winter to knock off duty.
View from the roof terrace at 8.00 a.m. It looks as though Winter’s really made up his mind

Author: margaret21

I'm retired and living in North Yorkshire, where I walk as often as I can, write, volunteer, and travel as often as I can.

5 thoughts on “À la Chandeleur, l’hiver cesse ou reprend vigueur”

  1. Hi Margaret,Mal, We hope this finds you both well, we are currently fighting off
    very heavy colds that I think I picked up from the hospital while visiting my sister. It might be very cold Margaret but what a view, I can just picture that scene through the four seasons. Thank you All our love xx


    1. Thanks you two. Follow our excellent example and stay tucked up and warm indoors. Don’t you believe those people who throw up their hands in horror at we Brits who grind to a halt every time there’s a bit iof snow. It happens here too. Today’s been a series of ‘phone calls telling us that something else has been cancelled because of the snow. So we’ve had our pancakes and don’t intend to venture forth today thank you. xx


  2. I love your photo of the winter sun, it’s just beautiful. Just hoping the Candlemas legend doesn’t hold as we currently have freezing weather from Siberia – but sadly no snow!


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