Chandeleur Day at Grand Avenue Predicts an Early Spring

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There was no need for Punxsutawney Phil in Rich Zawislak’s eighth-grade French class on Feb. 2; students celebrated Groundhog Day French style instead.

Known as La Chandeleur or Chandeleur Day, students learned the day was originally the religious holiday of Candlemas that is now simply enjoyed by making (and eating) crêpes with some fortune telling. La Chandeleur resembles Groundhog Day because certain signs of the crepe can indicate whether harsh winter weather is nearly over or will continue.

Betsy Siegelaub, a retired Bellmore-Merrick French teacher, visited Zawislak’s class at Grand Avenue Middle School to teach the students about the holiday.  

“Students learned about the history and importance of the day, listened to music, and played games to celebrate,” explained world languages chairperson Renée Fallon.

“The pièce de résistance was the making of the crêpes. Students filled their crêpes with various jams, Nutella and whipped cream, and enjoyed chatting with Mrs. Siegelaub in French,” added Zawislak.

To end the day, the students tried their hand at flipping the crêpes to see what the rest of this winter has in store — “Quand la Chandeleur est claire, l’hiver est par derrière; Chandeleur couverte, quarante jours de perte.” Translated to English: “If Chandeleur is clear, no more winter to fear. If Chandeleur is gray, 40 more days winter will stay.”

The results? According the Chandeleur Day celebrations at Grand Avenue, it looks like spring will arrive early this year.