To the majority of people reading this, February 2nd is Groundhog Day. However, in France I discovered a much better way to “celebrate” this day—la Chandeleur, Fête de la Lumière, or Candlemas. It’s also known as the Day of Crêpes.
I’ve never been a fan of Groundhog Day. Why do we suddenly revere a rodent we spend the other 364 days trying our best to get rid of? Seriously.
It seems like a much better idea to whip up a few crêpes and let them predict the coming (or not) of spring. Why crêpes? Because they’re golden and after a long winter, look like the sun.And this is how it works: “It is traditional to hold a coin in your writing hand and a crêpe pan in the other, and flip the crêpe into the air. If you manage to catch the crêpe in the pan, your family will be prosperous for the rest of the year.” The other benefits? Everyone will want to toss crêpes and the only thing that will get bitten is the crêpe (are you reading this Bill DeBlasio?).
Candlemas actually inspired Groundhog Day, marking the mid-point of winter. Germans in Pennsylvania brought the tradition to (ready for this?) Punxsutawney PA, with more of a focus on weather than wealth. After the groundhog did his prognostication he became lunch, supposedly tasting “like a cross between chicken and pork”. One less groundhog messing up the yard.
Given the choice between some rodent or a pan full of hot crêpes predicting the coming of spring, what would be your choice? For the first time ever, I’m looking forward to celebrating February 2nd and will definitely be hitting one of the crêperies near me! It might also be the excuse I’ve been looking for to get a crêpe pan and start making some of my own. If you’re far away from a good source of crêpes, pancakes are a perfectly good substitute. Enjoy!