Easter traditions typically celebrated in France

If you have recently moved to the country as an expat, there are many French Easter traditions to enjoy. We’ve gathered together some information for you on a few spring customs across France:

The Easter bells (les cloches de Pâques)

One of the main differences between British Easter traditions and those in France is the story of the Easter bells. On Maundy Thursday (the Thursday before Easter Sunday), church bells across France are silenced to mourn the death of Jesus Christ, and they remain silent until Easter Sunday.

According to legend, the bells would fly to Rome to be blessed by the Pope. They then begin their journey back to the French churches, picking up eggs along the way before scattering them into people’s gardens. The bells then ring on Easter Sunday to announce the resurrection of Christ.

So in France, you’ll be telling your children that it’s the bells that deliver their eggs, not the Easter Bunny!

Easter chocolate

A similarity between the two countries’ traditions is Easter chocolate. Decorated chocolate eggs, bunnies and bells are popular gifts for children and adults in France.

Chocolatiers take this opportunity to let their imaginations run wild during the springtime, by displaying beautiful works of art in the windows of chocolate shops and patisseries.

Easter egg hunts

Additionally, children in France also enjoy Easter egg hunts. Some towns and villages would usually organise hunts in the local park. However, Easter games in the back garden are just as well-loved.

In the past, children searched for decorated hard-boiled eggs, but now, small chocolate treats are more common.

Family meals

As with most national holidays in France, it is tradition to have a family meal at Easter. This will often include lamb as the main course, which is a symbol of new life and springtime. Dessert is usually chocolate-based and there is typically a cheeseboard on French tables at this time of year.

Whether you will be embracing French traditions or sticking to British customs, we hope you have had a happy and healthy Easter!

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