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Lesson Transcript

In French, it’s called Pâques.
If you know French history well, you’ll know that France is a secular, or laïque, country. In 1905, a law was created to separate Church and State. Still, many public holidays and traditions in France have Catholic origins, and one of the most important Catholic holidays is Easter. Easter Monday, or Lundi de Pâques, is also a public holiday. In this lesson we’re going to teach you how French people celebrate Easter.
Now, before we get into more detail, do you know the answer to this question?
What do French people generally eat on Easter? And be careful, I’m not talking about chocolate eggs!
If you don't already know, you’ll find out a bit later. Keep listening.
Originally, Easter commemorated the resurrection, or résurrection, of Jesus Christ, and marked the end of Lent for Catholics. Lent is called Carême in French, and it’s a period of fasting that lasts forty days, referencing the forty-day fast that Jesus Christ did in the desert. The date of Easter changes every year. It must fall on a Sunday between March 22 and April 25. The Monday following this Sunday is a public holiday called Lundi de Pâques. Many French people celebrate this holiday, even if they’re not Catholic or religious.
French people celebrate Easter with family. On Sunday, parents hide eggs in the garden or in the house, and the children have to look for them. These can be real hen eggs that have been hollowed out and decorated, but often they’re made of chocolate. Traditionally, eggs, or oeufs, were offered at Easter because you couldn’t eat them during Lent. Even during the fast, however, hens would continue laying eggs! Once Lent was over, these extra eggs were given to friends, neighbors, and so on. Today, not only eggs are given. Indeed, chocolate makers make chocolates in the shape of rabbits, bells, fish...there’s lots to choose from!
In France, young children are told that bells bring the Easter eggs, or oeufs de Pâques, because traditionally, church bells would ring every day of the year, but at Easter time, they would be silent from Thursday to Saturday. They would ring again on Easter Sunday, or Dimanche de Pâques, and bring children chocolates. However, in Alsace, children are told that the Easter Bunny, or Lapin de Pâques, brings the chocolates.
Now it's time to answer our quiz question!
Do you know what French people generally eat on Easter?
On Easter, French people traditionally roast a lamb or in French, Agneau de Pâques. It’s because for Christians, the lamb symbolizes Christ resurrected. During this time, butchers and supermarkets advertise lamb.
How was this lesson? Did you learn anything interesting?
Do you have Easter egg hunts in your country? Is it the bunny or the bells that bring the eggs?
Please leave a comment telling us at FrenchPod101.com, and we’ll see you next time!