I enjoyed dinner on Easter afternoon with friends in the parish who were hosting a guest from France. When I asked Yves if the Easter Bunny would be a character known to French children he told me the wonderful story of les cloches volantes, the flying bells!
Because many villages and cities across France have at least one church with a bell, it has been customary since about the 12th century to silence the bells of churches every year on the Thursday before Good Friday in acknowledgment of Jesus’ death. Legend has it that the bells of every church around France fly to Rome starting on Maundy Thursday (also known as Holy Thursday). Because the bells of every church have supposedly departed for Rome, bells in churches across France stay silenced until the day before Easter. On Sunday, church bells are once again sounded and it is believed these Easter bells (les cloches de Pâques) bring with them Easter eggs, chocolates and other treats, dropping them on their passage back from Rome. (Julie Blakely)To our American sensitivities, the thought of flying bells delivering Easter sweets may seem outlandish but certainly no more so than the notion of a rabbit delivering baskets of eggs!
Joyeuses Pâques!Et bon voyage, Yves!
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