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February

A la Chandeleur, l’hiver passe ou prend vigueur.

Candlemas Day is either the end of winter or the start of a really severe one.

February 2nd: Candlemas

“Candlemas” comes from the word “candle” and was originally a pagan festival before Christianity adopted it. Christians used to take candles to church to have them blessed. When they got home, they lit these blessed candles to protect themselves from storms and... from the devil!

Ever since the year began, the days have been getting longer and nature has been waking up.

Perce-neige - Photo : M. DécheletteLittle white snowdrops are already poking through and blooming in the garden. We hardly have time to eat up all the January Twelfth Night cakes before we have to start on pancakes.

It’s the custom to eat pancakes on February 2nd. Legend has it that, to be rich all year, you must toss a pancake holding the frying pan in one hand and a coin in the other. The pancake’s round shape reminds us of the sun rising a little earlier each day.

C is for Carnival, Confetti and Cavalcade

The carnival season greets the end of winter with colour and music. It is a wonderful example of a celebration everyone can enjoy however they like: with cavalcades, confetti-covered floats, processions, dancing and dressing up. Disguised behind a mask, you can get away with anything (or almost anything) in the general fun, without really insulting or hurting anyone.

In country areas they used to burn a huge figure made of straw, whilst in the North of France, as in Belgium, these giants are made to last. Each year they are brought out from storage to play their part in huge processions of happy people, followed by crowds which seem to grow bigger every time.

Two of the best known carnivals in France: in the North, the Dunkirk carnival, in the South, the one in Nice.

February 14th: Saint Valentine’s Day

This is a special day for people who are in love. They shyly send each other little presents to show how they feel.

It’s also the day when florists sell the most flowers, red roses being the favourites.


 

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