Joyeuses Pâques! Sweet Easter Gifts & Artful Activities

C'est vendredi saint--It's Good Friday today, or Holy Friday as they say in French, and I'm remembering the beautiful ways that Easter is celebrated in France. Instead of an Easter bunny bringing eggs there, they tell children that the church bells ring to Rome, and when the bells echo back to France, the bells bring chocolates back to France. I have fond memories of hunting chocolate eggs at my host family's chalet in the Alps years ago.

Last spring I was in Paris to run my first marathon, so I was able to bring back small chocolate chickens for my children for Easter! Inside the hollow chickens were little chocolates in various forms. French chocolatiers make the most wonderful chocolate animals for Easter--not just bunnies, but even chocolate lobsters, dolphins, fish, and seashells! I'm not sure why the ocean theme exists at Easter there, but it's delightful to see the variety of chocolate forms.

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Learning to Celebrate Easter

In high school French class I was taught that Easter is a plural noun in French (les Pâques) to help distinguish it from Passover (la paques)--the Jewish commemoration of the Israelites' escape from slavery in Egypt. My French class was the first place I heard about the connection between Passover and Easter. Now, as an adult, I understand more clearly that the Last Supper was when Christ was partaking of the Passover feast with his disciples. 

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Remembering Easter in France: Church, Chimes, & Chocolate

This week between Palm Sunday and Easter, Holy Week, brings back my memories of Easter (Pâques) in France. During my first exchange in France ten years ago, I lived on the campus of a Protestant theology school in Aix-en-Provence. (That's unusual for a homestay situation, but my host parents were employed there.) On Easter morning, a French friend drove me to an outdoor Easter sunrise service in a nearby village; the sunrise was glorious and I appreciated the opportunity to celebrate the resurrection of Christ with a small group of wonderful French families.

Afterwards, my host maman, host soeur and I had lunch at a friend's home where we enjoyed a meal featuring a succulent roast lamb--the first time I'd ever tasted lamb. (I'd been vegetarian for a few months before I lived in France, but chose to expand my eating preferences to educate my taste buds and to make meal preparation easier on my host family. I've eaten meat ever since.) It was far better than the mutton (aged sheep) I'd eaten in England!

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