here - its origins date back to pre Roman times, to a pagan feast - the old pagan rite of Lupercalia, a rite of light. The pagans used to celebrate the god Pan carrying torches or candles through the city. "Chandeleur" comes from the word "chandelle" which means candle (latin "candelarum") as does the English word "candle." In the year 472, Pope Saint Gelasius I (died 21 November 496) decided to "Christianize" this holiday to counteract paganism. He usurped this pagan tradition and changed its name to Candlemas thus retaining the fire and candle symbols. I read that chapels were decorated with burning candles which were blessed by clergy. You can see the gentleman in the painting below as he is going to drop his crepe on the floor as everyone is laughing.
Making Crepes, painted by Eugene Pierre Francois Giraud, French 1806-1881
I knew of the old custom of La Chandeleur but had never heard of the religious tradition of Candlemas in France - it could be that it is observed in other countries. If a writer usurps another author's story, he can be sued for plagiarism, the same applies to a composer if he copies another's piece of music. I wonder when the Church appropriated a holiday from pagan folklore if it could have been sued for "holiday plagiarism"? (lol.) It certainly is a bizarre coincidence that so many pagan festivals became Christian holidays.
So last Saturday, February 2nd, we went for a late lunch at a local Greek restaurant - The Clay Oven Greek Mediterranean Restaurant, which we had not tried before. We started with an appetizer, tiropita - a savory Phyllo dough feta cheese triangle. We both chose the clay oven baked lamb and a Greek salad. The lady owner came to our table to greet us and explained that this was a family owned restaurant where everything was made from scratch. She offered the desert to my husband in honor of his birthday - a baklava cake.
There is a take-out bakery in the restaurant and an adjacent large room for Greek dancing on Thursday nights - if you don't know how to dance the Greek way, they teach you. We may go and try one of these Thursdays...
Afterwards we drove up to the French bakery, Douceur de France, where my daughter had ordered a birthday cake for her father. We opened the box outside the bakery to have a look - and you can see it on the picture at the top of this post. Once back at home in the evening after a light dinner (we were still full from lunch) we had a piece of the cake...so yummy!
First, of course, my husband had to blow out the candles - just a dozen.
This was a "Black Forest" cake. It is made of semi-sweet chocolate mousse, chocolate Genoise, whipped cream and Griotte cherries covered with a semi-sweet chocolate. Griotte cherries are dark Morello type cherries that have usually been macerated in cherry brandy. This cake was certainly delicious. Here is another picture of it below taken with a different camera.
One of my bloggy friends, Patricia, asked in a comment "...Do you find you take different photos on a particular camera? ...Which do you prefer?" I like my Nikon D40 but I also like to use my other cameras because I am not very technical. I keep the camera set on "automatic" and find that sometimes my other cameras will give me a better picture, or better lighting. But sometimes it is quite hard to decide which photo to use in a post. I went to our front yard with four of my cameras to take sample pictures. We have a large Oregon Grape shrub in the front yard. Actually we have numerous Oregon Grape shrubs because the birds have propagated it in various places in our woods. Our two main bushes are quite large and one, near the house, reaches the window on the second story. In Latin it is called a "Mahonia aquifolium" as aquifolium means "holly-leaved." Right now it is covered with clusters of yellow blossoms.
With me I had my Nikon D40, Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS8, Cannon PowerShot SD980 IS and Olympus VG120. I also have a Sony camera but I did not use it. I took the photos at different times of the day, under a sunny and under a grey sky. Here are the results.