Friday, 3 April 2015

Easter traditions from Provence

A SPELL IN PROVENCE is set in the Lubéron region, so I thought I would write today about some of Provence's Easter traditions.

The Easter period starts on Palm Sunday, or 'Li rampau' as it's called in the provençal language. That day people buy small branches of laurel or olive trees which they keep all year to protect their homes from storms and lightening. Branches from the previous year should be burnt or buried for good luck, never thrown away. The traditional Palm Sunday lunch consists of fresh or smoked fish and vegetables, chick peas in particular. It is believed that if you don't eat chickpeas that day, you will lack of food at some point during the year.

The traditional Good Friday meal is 'aïoli', a meal of cod and vegetables (carrots, cauliflower, green beans, potatoes, and artichokes) with an egg, garlic and olive oil sauce. However as this is still Lent, egg aren't used for the Good Friday 'aïoli'.

On Easter Sunday, church bells, which have been silent for the past two days as they are said to have flown to Rome, ring once again as they return and drop chocolates in people's gardens. The traditional Easter Sunday feast is lamb roast garnished with garlic, roast potatoes and vegetables, together with aniseed bread.

Celebrations conclude on Easter Monday with cold omelettes and 'brioche' garnished with hard boiled eggs. 'Navettes', which are long, crunchy biscuits flavoured with aniseed, are also typical provençal biscuits eaten that day.

Finally, here are a couple of interesting Provençal superstitions. Eggs laid on Good Friday aren't supposed to rot and can be kept for a very long time. Therefore people used to give them to loved ones or respected members of the community. Also, you should never change your bedding or wear new clothes on Good Friday because it's bad luck!

What about you, do you have any Easter traditions or superstitions?


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