If I mention the date of February 2nd do you immediately recall that this is a holiday? I certainly wouldn't have, prior to opening Park Place Coffee. But then again, it is one of the many lessons I have learned by having a creperie.
It started when I received an email from Jeme Sutton, a French teacher at Reynolds High School, who asked if she could bring her students in to celebrate Chandeleur Day on February 2nd. This led me to research what this holiday was all about, and I found that of all of the holidays we celebrate, Chandeleur Day is most definitely an important holiday for me as it means "Crepe Day" in France! Chandeleur began as a religious holiday and is also called Candlemas which celebrates Mary and baby Jesus. Two less religious traditions grew from this holiday - crepe games and weather predictions.
It is a tradition in France to toss crepes high into the air and attempt to catch them with a pan/plate with your less favored hand while holding a coin in the other. If you can achieve the feat, good luck is prophecied to come your way.
It is also a day where the weather conditions predict the length of winter to come.(Sound familiar?)One of the sayings goes something like this: "Quand la Chandeleur est claire, l'hiver est par derrière; Chandeleur couverte, quarante jours de perte!" (If February 2 is clear, no more winter to fear; if the Chandeleur is overcast, forty days winter to last)
. (thanks to Genevieve Raze from Gresham High School for this information).
Thanks to these ladies who educate our local high school students on France and the culture, we will be celebrating "Crepe Day" at Park Place Coffee on February 2nd and throwing some crepes around along with some French phrases. We welcome others to join us.So, you may notice between the date and the tradition, there seems to be connection to Groundhog Day? It is more than a coincidence for sure.
Chandeleur Day assimilated into what we now consider a North American holiday, though it was through German influence. Go figure! Another demonstration of how our culture becomes enriched through our many associations! Here is the information on how Chandeleur Day has entered into our American Culture: This prediction (Groundhog Day) owes its origin to the European tradition of Candlemas. There is an old European supposition that a sunny Candlemas day would lead the winter to last for 'another six weeks'. Also celebrated on February 2, the was used to commemorate the Purification of the Virgin Mary. Candles for sacred uses were blessed on this day. Gradually the traditions at this Candlemas came to associate with them different folklores. The German added the belief of an animal, initially a hedgehog, being frightened by his shadow on Candlemas would foretell that winter would last another six weeks. This belief was brought in America during the 18th Century by the German settlers. These settlers adopted the groundhog as their weather predictor.
The Groundhog Day came into being in North America during the late 1800s. Thanks to the combined effort of Clymer H. Freas, a newspaper editor, and W. Smith, an American Congressman and newspaper publisher. They organized and popularized a yearly festival in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, the State was populated predominantly by German settlers. The festival featured a groundhog named Punxsutawney Phil which used to foretell how long the winter would last. This very popular event is still being held and is called Groundhog Day.