lundi 17 avril 2006
Yesterday Alain and I went to his aunt's house to celebrate Easter. His parents, grandparents, sister, her husband, and their daughter were there as well.
There was a chocolate Easter Duck on the table for Manon, so I asked if in France they have Easter Duck that brings the eggs. He said no. Easter Bunny? No. Easter Frog? Nope. I couldn't guess, so he explained that it is the bells. Bells? I just can't picture bells hip hopping down the bunny trail to deliver Easter candy. A Rabbit or Duck at least makes some sense.
Lucie explained to me that she told Manon that the bells were so happy that Jesus was resurrected that the bells rang so much and chocolate came flying out.

Easter in France
In France, Shrove Tuesday is referred to as Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday.
In France, church bells ring joyfully during the year. But the bells stop ringing on the Thursday before Good Friday. They are silent for a few days while people remember the death of Jesus. On Easter Sunday morning, the bells ring out, telling people that Jesus is alive again. When people hear the bells, they kiss and hug one another.
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. The eggs are said to have been bought from Rome where the bell ringing had gone to see the Pope and when the bells returned they bought with them the eggs.
In some parts of France, children look for four white horses pulling a chariot full of eggs.
In France the children throw eggs up in the air. The first one to drop it loses.
An old French custom was a contest of rolling raw eggs down a gentle slope--the surviving egg was the victory egg and symbolized the stone being rolled away from the tomb.
In France an egg game played is that in which the eggs were thrown up in the air and caught. The boy who dropped his egg had to pay a forfeit.
In France the children are told that it is the church bells that have been to Rome to fetch them their eggs.
Cloche volant or Flying Bells are another important part of the French Easter tradition. French Catholics have a tradition that on Good Friday all the church bells in France miraculously fly to the Vatican in Rome. They carry with them all the misery and grief of those who mourn Jesus' crucifixion on that day. These flying French bells then return on Easter morning in time for the celebration of Jesus' resurrection. They of course bring with them lots of chocolate and eggs which are left in yards for the children to collect in their baskets when they wake up in the morning. In keeping with the tradition, French church bells do not ring from Good Friday to Easter morning.

I personally did not notice the bells not ringing.
Anyway, Alain and Nicolas very obviously hid some chocolate eggs, bunny, and a book in the yard and Manon walked around and found them, with a lot of prompting of "oh! What is this I see in the bush?" It was very cute. She then later stole all the chocolate on the table and put them in her basket.
Chocolate seemed to be the theme of the day. We each had a small Lindt chocolate bunny at our plate, his parents brought a large Jeff de Bruges egg (very good chocolate store that has had lines out in the street to get into the store for the past week) that when split open has other small Easter Ducks, Bells, and Eggs inside.
I did not see any egg coloring kits, I guess it is not as popular here.

So we sat down for lunch/dinner.
Here is what we had.
Small appetizers- chips, chocolate
Started off with Salmon with tapenade
followed by a small prune wrapped in bacon
caviar (well, Alain tells me it is some sort of other type of fish eggs) and tapenade on bread
salad of coeur de palmier, lettuce, tomato, and egg
rice and kebobs of some meat cooked in a curry and a sauce
Cake 1: cream and fruit cake with chocolate
Cake 2: clafouti aux fraise (a sort of baked pudding)
chocolate course
chocolate cake/brownie-ish dessert

You most likely are thinking- what did they drink?
Started off with water until they realized, Oh we forget the wine! So then we had a red Bordeaux followed by a type of bubbly Champagne drink.

Luckily, I was prepared for this and knew what to expect. Take as little as possible of each course until you are sure the end is in site. Of course, it is always possible that a surprise dish will be slipped in there somewhere, such as the brownies catching me unaware. I was actually expecting another main dish.
I got home and had a stomache ache from so much chocolate. Yes, ME!!!!
Today is a holiday.

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