Discover Crêpes

Everything you ever wanted to know about crêpes but didn't know who to ask!

Crêpe Folklore & Traditions

The British feast on crêpes on Shrove Tuesday, also known as Pancake Tuesday. They make the crêpes—served with sugar and/or lemon--the day before Lent in order to use up rich food such as eggs, milk, and sugar before the Lenten fast.

In France, Catholics traditionally serve crêpes on Candlemas, or La Chandeleur, which commemorates the purification of the Virgin Mary and the presentation of the baby Jesus. Originally known as Virgin Mary’s Blessing Day, February 2 is now affectionately called “Avec Crêpe Day.” According to tradition, a person who tosses a crêpe in the air with the left hand and catches it in a frying pan while holding a gold coin in the right will become rich that year.

Crêpes played an important role in courtship long ago on the Ile d’Ouessant in Brittany. When a young man visited the parents of his sweetheart to ask for her hand in marriage, the mother and daughter prepared galettes and put them in the larder while the young man talked with the father. If the father consented to the union, the mother took the galettes from the larder and served a celebratory meal. If, however, the larder remained closed the suitor knew his proposal had been rejected.

Another tradition from Brittany also involved sweethearts, crêpes, and a larder. A young couple who moved into the home of their ancestors tossed the first crêpe they made in the house on top of the larder in respect for the memory of previous occupants. Brittany farmers used to offer crêpes to landowners as a sign of allegiance. While these two traditions are no longer observed, families in Brittany still exchange crêpes made with sweet cider in appreciation for help with the annual cider making.

The rich traditions and lore about crêpes are testament to the importance these versatile pancakes played in history. Perhaps more stories will accompany the contemporary revival of crêpe cuisine.