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Lesson Transcript

Do you know what the food called a crêpe is? It’s a dessert made of a very thin layer of flour dough. You can add savory or sweet fillings when you eat it. Forty days after Christmas, French people celebrate Candlemas, or Chandeleur, just like people do in other countries such as Switzerland and Belgium. On February 2, all French people get down to cooking! In this lesson, we’re going to learn how the French celebrate Candlemas!
Now, before we get into more detail, do you know the answer to this question?
What do French people hold in their hand when they flip a crêpe?
If you don't already know, you’ll find out a bit later. Keep listening.
The holiday of Candlemas goes back to Roman times. The Romans worshipped the god Pan by waving torches all night long. In 472, Pope Gelasius I decided to Christianize the holiday. Religious people would worship Jesus instead by lighting candles. The word "Chandeleur" comes from the word chandelle meaning “candle,” and it symbolizes light. But why do French people make crêpes on this day in particular? Well, at this time of the year, winter planting would begin. Peasants would use their excess flour to make crêpes. Also, with their round shape and golden color, they reminded people of the sun.
This holiday is very popular with French people even today, but more out of habit than out of religious belief. A few weeks before the day, French people will start seeing advertisements for crêpe batter in magazines or on television. It’s a holiday that French people celebrate with their family if they have young children, or with their friends. If you use a frying pan, or poêle à frire, you need to flip the crêpe without letting it fall! If it falls, it brings bad luck. In French, good luck is called Bonne Chance and bad luck is called Malchance.
French crêpes are usually eaten warm, whether they are sweet or savory. There are two types of batter. One is made with wheat for sweet fillings, and the other is made with buckwheat for savory fillings. Crepes called Crêpes Suzette are a great classic of French cuisine invented by Auguste Escoffier. They are made with melted butter mixed with sugar, Grand Marnier, orange and lemon. They can be flambéed with Grand Marnier. Crêpes from Brittany are also popular throughout France. If you go to Brittany, you simply must try this culinary specialty!
Now it's time to answer our quiz question-
Do you know what French people hold in their hand when they flip a crêpe?
When flipping a crêpe, French people hold a coin in their hand. Traditionally, it was a “gold Louis,” or Louis d'or. If the crêpe falls correctly onto the skillet, it guarantees prosperity all year long.
How was this lesson? Did you learn anything interesting?
Do you have a holiday where people eat something sweet?
Please leave a comment telling us at FrenchPod101.com, and we’ll see you next time!