Wednesday, 9 February 2011


I have been away for so long, studying and working, and not even had time to write about Lucia or Christmas... Well, the good thing is I can still do that... next year! But I need to keep up with what's happening now (or quite recently)!
On the 2nd of February was Candelmas, or la Chandeleur as we call it in French. It is one of the days that we always celebrated in my family in Chad, and one of my favourite (along with Epiphany, Lucia, Christmas, Midsommar... who am I kidding?! I like all celebrations, I could even start my own).

The (hi)story of this celebration is quite an interesting one and is influenced by two main ideas: fecundity and purification. Although we now know it as the commemoration of the presentation of Jesus to the temple of Jerusalem and the purification of the Virgin, it is thought to be originally a pagan and Latin tradition, festa candelarum, during which people would light on candles at midnight as a sign of purification. It commemorates the event during which Pluto/Hades, god of the Underworld, stole Proserpina/Persephone, and her mother Ceres/Demeter sought her in the dark with lighted candles. It could also be related to the Roman festivities of the Lupercalia, inspired by Lupercus, god of fecundity and herds. Some also believe that Candlemas is the christinization of the Gaelic festival of Imbolc, in honor of the goddess Brigit, celebrating the purification and fertility at the end of winter.

In France, we celebrate that day by making and eating crêpes, very thin and large pancake (my favourite of all types of pancakes, because they are both crispy and soft, not like other types, especially Swedish ones, which only get all soft and bland). If the cook can flip a crêpe while holding a golden coin in the other hand, the family is assured of prosperity throughout the coming year (but you shouldn't try that with an cast iron skillet!).

This year, I tried Vegansfields' recipe, which I had been saving for a while and which involves French cider. It was really good, but I like my pancakes really thin and I have to say I had to add quite some milk, maybe about 1 or 2 decilitres. I added it little but little to get the perfect consistency and of course it took a few tries to get it, but even the first crêpes were delicious. I have to say that for someone like me, who has a real distaste for egg, those crêpes were perfect and I was totally bluffed by the vegan recipe! It was so good that we ate the crêpes on their own, without adding sugar or jam, and even nutella wouldn't have been attractive enough. The slighlty sour and sweet apple flavour of the pancakes was all we wanted/needed.

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