Sunday, March 23, 2008

Joyeuses Pâques

It's Pâques today in France, better known as Easter in the English speaking world. Since I'm not a churchgoer, I can't comment on the differences in how the holiday is observed from a religious perspective. But to suffice it to say, Pâques seems to involve a lot of eggs, bunnies, and chocolates. The windows of the chocolatiers are a sight to see.

Now here's something interesting. If you have a hard time explaining to your kids about the Easter bunny, pity the French parents who must explain to theirs that the eggs and chocolates are brought by a giant bell, la cloche de Rome. This seems to me even more difficult to explain than how Santa gets up and down all those chimneys in one night. At least he has arms and legs. (But then I guess that's why they call it a leap of faith.) Well, the long and short of it is that on Good Friday, all the church bells in France miraculously fly to Rome carrying with them all the misery and grief of those who mourn Jesus' crucifixion. The bells make a return trip on Easter morning to celebrate the resurrection and bringing the chocolate and eggs with them. In keeping with the tradition, French church bells do not ring from Good Friday to Easter morning.

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