Sunday, 8 April 2012

Joyeuses Pâques!

Following on from my ode to Swedish culture I thought I should say a little about French Easter traditions since we have lived here now for a year (not that that makes us experts in French culture!).

Food in France is taken extremely seriously which means that there are some truly delicious chocolate masterpieces to enjoy.

But it is not only chocolate eggs that are eaten in France for Easter - the French also eat a lot of chocolate fish!

Although not directly related to Easter, chocolate fish adorn all the best chocolatier's windows and are enjoyed throughout the entire Easter season. The fish start appearing in shops on April 1st, when children use paper versions to play an April Fools type trick. The 'trick' is to stick a paper fish onto the back of as many adults as possible, then run away yelling, "Poisson d'Avril!" (April fish!).

The tradition is several centuries old. Some say it evolved from a silly 'fish trick' where one would send an unknowing person to market to buy freshwater fish when it was not in season - kind of like the British traditions of sending someone for a 'long weight' or a 'sky hook'.
In addition to the cholate fish on sale you can also buy 'chocolate flying bells' or 'Cloche Volant'.   

 "Pourquoi?" I hear you ask?
Well, during the 7th century the Pope banned the ringing of church bells between Good Friday and Easter. The bells fall silent in mourning for the death of Jesus, and start ringing again for his resurrection.

So what is a bell to do if one cannot ring?

They all fly to Rome where they are blessed by the Pope and filled with chocolates and eggs, which are distributed to all of the homes of France as they fly back to their churches.

Many children wake up on Easter Sunday and find eggs scattered about their rooms. They look in the nests they have placed in their yards or gardens and find Easter eggs in them.


  1. you've got it all right :-)

    A french mommy

    1. Merci!
      And is there anything else that I should add? :)

  2. Oooh, I love praline. Would chocolate seashells work as a fish substitute?

    1. I'm sure they would, especially if they are from Jeff de Bruges! mmmmm

  3. I love reading about all these traditions. You would make an excellent Montessori Lead with your obvious enjoyment in relaying information like these cultural traditions.

    1. That's so sweet Charissa! I would LOVE to do it. xx

  4. Hello!

    It was nice to 'meet' you over on my blog. Stop by again!

    I find it very interesteing to hear of the Easter traditions in other countries.

    You have a cheery blog.

    Learning about Charlotte Mason's ideas on education has made my world with my 2 little son's come alive! I hope you get a chance to look into it more.


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