Easter in France is a quiet holiday where families, both religious and non-religious, spend the day together with a traditionally large meal. This meal is typically served over many courses including lamb for dinner and a dessert which includes chocolate.
But for more religious families, there is the tale of the Cloches de Pâques (Easter Bells)!
On the Thursday night before Easter, all church bells go quiet as a sign of mourning and do not ring again until Easter Sunday as a sign of resurrection and the coming of Spring. Why you ask? Because they must fly to Rome, of course!
It is said that the church bells sprout wings and dress with a nice ribbon, after which make their way to the Vatican to be blessed by the Pope himself! After being blessed, the bells will make their way back to their steeples dropping off deliveries of chocolate or sugar eggs, rabbits, hens, roosters, lambs chicks, and (of course) bells to children across France on their way.
After a long trip to and from their respective destinations, the bells will again ring on Easter Sunday. When the local children hear them, they run outside to go on a hunt for the gifts the bells have left them. It is also a tradition in many areas that someone will yell “les cloches sont passes” to show that the bells have passed and it is time to go on a hunt!
Much like the Easter Bunny in other areas, the French Easter Bells have been a long-standing, fun, tradition for both children and adults alike. We at the French Language Salon wish you a Happy Easter (or joyeuses Pâques) if you are celebrating the holiday this upcoming weekend!