Friday, April 2, 2010

french friday - part cinq

Joyeuses Pâques!
(Happy Easter!)

This week in honor of Easter, and since today is le Vendredi saint (Good Friday), I thought I would let you in on some Easter traditions held by the French.

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Les Cloches Volantes (the Flying Bells)
Apparently, this tradition goes back to the 7th century. On Thursday evening before Easter (last night), all church bells are silenced and French children are told that the bells have flown away to Rome to mourn the sacrificial death of Jesus on the cross. While in Rome, the Pope fills them with les chocolats (chocolates) and sends them back to their churches on Sunday where they are rung again in full force, declaring Jesus' resurrection - la Résurrection. Along the way, however, the bells drop the chocolates in the children's yards for them to discover on Easter morning.

Sound crazy? Well, think of how silly our tradition of the Easter bunny seems. A giant bunny who lays eggs? Really? At least the French tradition is centered around the real meaning of Easter. Although the Easter bunny is becoming more popular in France as well.

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l'agneau (lamb)
Roast lamb is traditionally served on Easter Sunday in France. The lamb represents Jesus Christ, who became the sacrificial lamb through his death on the cross. Serving la couronne d'agneau (crown of roast lamb) also symbolizes le Christ Roi (Christ the King).

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le Poisson d'Avril (April fish)
Something that may surprise you in the windows of les chocolateries (chocolate shops) is the appearance of chocolate fish along with the bunnies and eggs. Les poissons (fish) are traditionally an April Fools trick, but are also enjoyed throughout the Easter season. The trick is for children to stick a paper fish on the backs of as many adults as possible and then run away yelling, "Poisson d'Avril!" Cute, huh? It's said that this originated from a mean trick of sending someone to the market to buy fish that was out of season. Apparently, all French know which foods are in season. I would have definitely been the April fool on the butt of that joke.

Our girls got in on the fun last night after bath time by making their own poissons and pranking daddy:
He completely forgot about the fish on his back and started to go outside to do some work.  Fortunately for him, I'm a nice wife and reminded him.  I should've just let him wear the fish...

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For some beautiful pictures of French Easter chocolates, take a look at this blog post from Paris Breakfasts.

And yes, you will still get your vocabulary video for today. However, I found a way to keep my face off of it... :)

video

And here's a shameless plug:
If you're in the Des Moines area and looking for a great place to remember Good Friday, hunt for Easter eggs, or to celebrate Easter, check out my church.  I guarantee you won't be disappointed!
I'll even save you a seat.

4 comments:

Elizabeth said...

I learn a lot on your Frech Fridays! How fun. Can you tell me how to pronounce Gruyere cheese in your next video?

Mama Foster said...

yay thanks for saying your blog name! i wasnt butchering it as bad as i thought!

Amy@My Front Porch said...

Wow...have I ever been saying your blog name wrong. I don't know if I could ever learn French...I'm afraid my accent is hopelessly American :)

Oh and have you ever made crown of roast lamb? I found a recipe for one in a Paula Deen cookbook and actually briefly considered making it for Easter {I had no idea it was a French tradition} I've never tasted it, I just think it looks so impressive :)

Amy Kramer said...

I miss seeing your pretty face with the word pronounciations!! :(

Thanks for clarifying your blog name. I never took french in school, so the way I was saying it definately had a "spanish accent" to it!! ;) hehe

Happy Easter! Looks like you have an awesome church... please save me a seat. Not sure if we'll make it or not, but I guess it's better to be safe than sorry, right?! :)