Happy Easter – Joyeuses Pâques !

Easter Sunday celebrates Jesus Christ’s resurrection after his crucifixion, and marks the end of the fasting period of Lent according to Christian belief. In France during Easter festivities, many shops are decorated with chocolate rabbits, chickens, bells and fish.

What are the “flying bells” ?

Catholics believe that on Good Friday, all the church bells in France fly to the Vatican in Rome, carrying with them the grief of those who mourn Jesus’ crucifixion on that day. So you won’t hear any bells on these days as they are all in Rome but fortunately they fly back to France on Easter Sunday morning and drop lots of chocolate eggs, bells, bunnies in people’s gardens. Children are also told that Easter Bunny “le lapin de Pâques” hide the chocolates in gardens. So, imagine when children wake up, they all run into their gardens to collect all the chocolate they can find. They all go on a Easter Egg hunt (“Une chasse aux oeufs”)

What is “Palm Sunday” ?

“Palm Sunday” is called “Le Dimanche des Rameaux” in French. This is the day when we remember how Jesus rode into Jerusalem and the people greeted Him by laying palm leaves on the ground for Him to walk on .
On this day we carry decorated branches (rameaux) to church so that the priest will bless them.  The branches can be made from palm leaves, olive trees, laurel, rosemary… In Provence they are often made from Olive trees.

How do the French celebrate Easter?

French people have a three day long weekend to allow Easter to be celebrated properly with their families. They usually eat a festive meal and what you eat really depends on where you live. In many parts of France, a roast lamb served with freshly harvested vegetables is cooked on Easter Sunday . In the South West of France, a giant omelette is often made on Easter Monday and can feed up to 1000 people!

Some words to remember for Easter …

Holy weekLa semaine Sainte
Easter FridayVendredi Saint
Happy EasterJoyeuses P‰âques!
Easter bunnyLe lapin de P‰âques
Flying bellsLes cloches volantes
Easter eggsLes oeufs de Pâ‰ques
Easter Egg huntLa chasse aux oeufs
Palm SundayLe Dimanche des Rameaux
To hide chocolate eggsCacher des oeufs en chocolat
To find chocolate eggsTrouver des oeufs en chocolat

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