Février est arrivée--Now that it's February, I'm glad to guide my children through some simple activities connected to love and light. One of the clearest descriptions of love, the apostle Paul's summary in 1 Corinthians 13, lends itself to a simple bilingual project:
Each morning we read the next phrase Paul used to describe love (in a French Bible and an English Bible) and the look up the key word in dictionaries for each language. Today we noticed how the word patient is spelled the same in both languages (but pronounced differently), and how it means so much more than just waiting.
After checking out the definitions, my children cut out a paper heart and write the day's word(s) describing love, with each side displaying a different language (or with both languages on the same side of the heart), to create a bilingual banner that grows in length each day until Valentine's week arrives. Simple, non? But the simplicity belies what we're learning. I know I'm already appreciating the insight into the nature of love in each language.
Why the French (and my family) make crêpes in February
While February 2nd is Groundhog Day in the U.S., the same day in France (and Belgium, Switzerland, Luxembourg, and elsewhere!) is la Chandeleur (Candlemas): Originally, it was a Catholic celebration of when Mary presented the infant Jesus' to the temple priest; because the priest declared Him "the light," (Luke 2:32), Catholics historically celebrated by lighting candles. Over time, the French also developed the tradition of eating crêpes for la Chandeleur, supposedly because it was a seasonally safe time to use up flour, and the round shape of the crêpes symbolize the sun and its light. Today, practicing Catholics or not, a majority of the French continue to have crêpes for dinner--or at least for dessert--on Candlemas.
Honestly, I've fixed crêpes for breakfast for my family nearly weekly for the past year (because hot breakfast is one of the luxuries of homeschooling, and we all adore crêpes), but as a francophile I'd have a hard time not making crêpes on February 2nd along with the French! My children prefer sweet crêpes with butter and maple syrup rather than savory fillings like ham and cheese, though in France they prefer crêpes with Nutella (when they can talk me into buying crêpes from a street vendor).
If you'd like my crêpe recipe (or an even simpler one), you'll find it along with some mouthwatering photos at last year's blog post here.