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How is Easter Celebrated in Provence? Find Out Here

Remember Provence sells Provencal-themed housewares, gift items and culinary ingredients to customers worldwide. Marie Helene, the president of Remember Provence, manages everything from product selection to sales and customer relations. The merchandise range continues growing as Marie Helene sources quality goods from market vendors and artisan producers.

Having grown up in Provence, Marie Helene has an innate ability to separate genuine French creations from those that might be mass-produced elsewhere. She also knows about French holiday traditions, including Easter in Provence.

Pâques = Easter

In French, the word for Easter is Pâques, meaning “the passage.” The word comes from “Pesach,” the Jewish Passover celebrating the liberation of the Hebrews who crossed the Red Sea to flee Egypt. This name is taken up in the Christian religion because the Passion and death of Jesus took place during the Jewish Passover.

This holiday is important in both Jewish and Christian religions. The celebration of the resurrection of Christ begins on Holy Thursday and ends on Easter Monday, marking the end of the Lenten period that began forty days earlier. Both Easter Sunday and Monday are public holidays in France. While the Easter dates fluctuate annually, it is always in the early spring, a religious symbol that coincides with nature’s rebirth.

The Easter Egg

Why is the egg inseparable from Easter? This practice has both pagan and religious origins. Since ancient times, it has represented fertility, rebirth and life. Receiving an egg was a good omen. The Persians offered eggs in the season of renewal.

In the Christian religion, it was forbidden to eat eggs during Lent, 40 days of penance between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday. So people cooked the eggs to preserve them, painted them red to symbolize the blood of Christ and finally offer decorated eggs for Easter. Little by little, the decorations were enriched.

The tradition settled in France during the 13th Century. Among the nobles of the Renaissance, eggs became decorative objects in gold and silver or adorned with precious stones, which inspired the Fabergé egg.

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In the 18th century, chocolate appeared in high society in Europe. First, people filled the eggshells with liquid chocolate. Then they found a way to solidify chocolate (in the 19th century), and little by little, the old-time easter candy looked the way we know today. Continue reading about the symbolism of the Easter egg in Marie-Helene’s original article.

Easter Traditions in Provence

Easter Traditions

The Easter period begins after Palm Sunday: this is the Holy Week. Maundy Thursday is when the bells of Rome fall silent in memory of the Last Supper. That day, the churches are flowered for the evening mass. In the Provence of our grandmothers, Christians “visited the altars,” according to the expression. The altar contains the host consecrated for Good Friday. The people of Provence visited at least three churches to pray and admire the flowers arranged around the altars.

Next comes Good Friday, commemorating the Passion of the Savior in the Christian religion. In remembrance of Christ’s sufferings, believers practice fasting or lean meals. We eliminate meat and fatty foods and favour low-calorie dishes, mainly fish-based. Because Lent, which started on Ash Wednesday, ends on Easter Sunday.

In Provence, the traditional Good Friday dish is aioli. This dish includes boiled cod, hard-boiled eggs, and vegetables (green beans, cauliflower, potatoes, and carrots). Historically snails picked up in the countryside were also added, although rarer today.

Grand Aioli is a Provencal Classic
Allow enough time as each vegetable should be cooked separately to ensure they are not overcooked. The dish can be served warm or at room temperature making it a perfect main course for hot days too.
Check out this recipe
Le Grand Aioli Provence Recipe
Provençal Aioli Dip and Crudité Grazing Platter a Tapas Style Meal
The hardest part of this recipe is getting the aioli (garlic mayonnaise) to the right consistency. If you follow the steps below it is actually very simple. Choose fresh crunchy vegetables that you like and dip away.
Check out this recipe
Provençal Aioli Dip wearecookandbaker-provencal-aioli-crudite-grazing-platter-recipe

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Easter Menu Ideas

Springtime in Provence is lovely. The sun shines brightly but expects an odd rainstorm. Moisture in this period is critical for the grapes, olives, and almonds to start their growing cycles. Expect to see the apple, pear, apricot, cherry, and plum trees blooming in March and April. Enjoy making lighter, brighter dishes to welcome the warmer weather.

An Easy Recipe for Spring Pea Soup
Enjoy the promise of warmer weather and new produce with this spring soup.
Check out this recipe
Spring Pea Soup
Simple Spring Salad
Easy and fresh - enjoy!
Check out this recipe
Simple Spring Salad
Chicken with morels and asparagus (Poulet aux morilles et asperges)
Wild mushrooms are best in the autumn and morels in the spring. Asparagus is one of my favourite ingredients in the springtime. This recipe makes the most of both using a fricassee method, which is (roughly) a combination of a sauté and a stew. You can use white or green asparagus, but make sure that they are not the thin varieties (including wild asparagus) as they will be lost in the dish. As an option, you can add potatoes as well.
Check out this recipe
Spring Dinner Menu Chicken Morels and Asparagus
Herbes de Provence Crusted Lamb Lollipop and Spring Vegetables
I call this garrigue-crusted lamb as the topping is made with fresh herbs that you typically find in the hills of Provence. Start the preparation with the oven-roasted tomatoes as that takes a while. During that time prepare the lamb and fresh spring vegetables of your choice.
Check out this recipe
Herbes de Provence Crusted Lamb Lollipops @MirabeauWine
Spring Strawberries with French Meringue
French meringue is the easiest of the meringues to make. It requires no stovetop cooking, and this recipe uses an easy 1:1 ratio of sugar and egg whites. You can make the meringue in advance and store them in an airtight container (which makes them perfect for an easy go-to dessert). This recipe will make 6 meringues. The cooking time may vary but count on 3 1/2 hours.
Check out this recipe
Strawberries and French Meringue Spring Menu 2021
Tarte aux Fraises
A light and refreshing tart filled with custard and adorned with the season's finest strawberries.
Check out this recipe
tarte aux fraises #TastesofProvence @CocoaandLavender

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