Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Les Pacques en France

Joyeux Pacques

The Youtube video in the previous post shows you French people (from Brittany) talking about Easter. How much can you understand? Try listening a few times and listen for familiar language. Do you think you can hear any cognates? Write down what you hear and have a go at looking the words up. Do they make sense? Remember that we can often make sense of what someone is saying with just a few words from each sentence.

In France, Easter eggs are not brought by the Easter Bunny but by the bells - les Cloches. On the Tuesday before Easter all the church bells in France are silent. The story says that they fly to Rome, to the Pope, and then they return on Easter Sunday, bringing the Easter eggs with them. On Easter Sunday, once again the bells sound.
Chocolate treats are made in all sorts of shapes including hens and fish. If any of you have visited a French patisserie you will know just how wonderful and mouth-watering the chocolates and cakes look, and especially at this time of year.


Delphine, a 10 year old French girl,  has written about Easter in France here:

You can also find quizzes and fun activities about Easter on this website.

You can read a more grown up version of Easter in France on another blog here:
The photo of the beautiful table all set ready for Easter lunch comes from this blog.

Photo courtesy of
You probably know that Easter is a Christian celebration which tracks the death and re-birth of Jesus. France is a Catholic nation and for many families the Catholic mass on Easter Sunday will play an important part of their festivities. This beautiful photograph shows the inside of Notre Dame in Paris, one of France's many wonderful churches. You might have seen the film, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, which was set here.

In many parts of France you can still see Easter processions, Défilé de Pacques, over the Easter period.
In Perpignan, in South-west France, you can see the Procession de la Sanch, which takes place every ’Vendredi Saint’, (Good Friday), and starts the celebration of the Easter Holy week. The brotherhood of “La Sanch” (the blood) was founded in1416 by Vincent Ferrier at the church of St Jaques in Perpignan.

Procession de la Sanch
"Impressive, atmospheric, just a little frightening, the long black and red hooded and robed figures of the Procession de la Sanch march slowly through the streets of Perpignan to the solemn beat of black veiled tambourines
The wearing of the black and red hooded robes (orcaparutxe) was to prevent criminals being recognized and ‘lynched’ in the streets as pay back for crimes committed, and prisoners, penitents, (there to give comfort to the person about to die), and executioner were hooded for maximum confusion.

The procession as a whole commemorates the Passion and the Agony of Christ. At the head of the parade walks a red robed figure “le regidor”, warning the crowds of the procession’s approach. by intermittently ringing an iron bell as he leads the penitents to the gallows.They carry ‘misteris’ (full-size representations of the different scenes of the Passion) through the streets of Perpignan.

Of course, over the years the Sanch has become a great crowd puller and a fabulous photo opportunity but for the ‘penitents’ carrying crosses, crucifixes and religious statues weighing up to thirty to fifty kilos, this re- enactment of Christ’s Passion is real enough. The procession takes place in silence – some walk bare-foot, others are on their knees…... only the sound of the tambourine, and the occasional peal of the bell breaks the eerie atmosphere, along with the Goigs, traditional Easter songs which accompany the march.

Over the centuries the Sanch has been forbidden several times. It has always survived."

(Thanks to for the information on the Perpignan Procession de la Sanch)

Joyeux Pacques tout le monde

Mme Presland et Zena

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