"À la Chandeleur, l'hiver cesse ou prend vigueur." At Candlemas, winter ends or strengthen its' forces? Students in the West Hills French learning community and Voyageur Club celebrated the French cultural tradition of La Chandeleur also known as Jour des Crêpes. They learned that it stems from a Roman tradition in which "les chandelles" (candles) were carried in a "défilé (procession) to bring light during the darkness of winter. However, it is now common for family and friends to enjoy conviviality as well as make, fold, eat and flip crêpes for a year of good luck. Crêpes are thin, French pancakes that are golden and round like the sun. Eating them on this special day of fête (celebration) reminds us that longer, warmer days are ahead and winter will soon come to an end. Zain Kojan remarked, "Celebrating this special tradition together makes us feel like we're family." That was definitely a ray of sunshine and a warm feeling for all during these cold days of winter!
Students were able to experience making crêpes with a machine or a traditional "poêle" (pan). Some students tried their hand at flipping crêpes many times in a row while others counted in French. Tradition states that if one holds a gold or silver coin in one hand while flipping a crêpe in the other hand and the crêpe turns over on the first attempt, there will be good luck in the family for the year. In Voyageur club, we once again donned our "ceinture fléchées" (French Voyageur sashes), took a picture in the snow because that's what "les hivernants" (winter dwellers) do, consumed more crêpes and then held a "crêpe flipping" competition. Our winners, Abel DuChâteau and Arthur Gaillard ont fait sauter (flipped) les crêpes an incredible amount of times! The highest total was 54 times.Félicitations!
During this special day, French students also reflected on their positive qualities while creating acrostic name poems. They will be collaborating and continuing to broaden their knowledge of affirmative adjectives. At the completion of this mini collaborative project, each student will have their own "éclat du soleil;" a list of affirmations to which their classmates have thoughtfully contributed. It's always good to have a burst of sunshine whenever needed and a reminder that each and every one of us possess special qualities that others admire; we are all essential ingredients in our community. Joyeux Jour des Crêpes! Joyeuse Chandeleur!