Easter

French Easter vocabulary
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Springy French Vocabulary

Easter’s date changes every year: it occurs on the first Sunday after the first full moon on or after the vernal equinox – so somewhere between 22 March and 25 April.

In 2017, Easter is 16 April, in 2018 it will be the first of April. The week immediately preceding Easter (Sunday to Saturday) is called Holy Week. Here’s all the French vocabulary you need to celebrate this Christian period of renewal.

Easter   le Pâques, les Pâques (f)
Passover   la Pâque
spring   le printemps
Lent   le carême
Holy Week   la Semaine Sainte
Palm Sunday   dimanche des Rameaux
Pâques fleuries
Ash Wednesday   mercredi des Cendres
Maundy Thursday   jeudi saint
Good Friday   vendredi saint
Easter Sunday   le dimanche de Pâques
Easter Day   le jour de Pâques
Easter Monday   lundi de Pâques

Expressions

Joyeuses Pâques ! Bonnes Pâques !    Happy Easter!
Noël au balcon, Pâques au tison    A warm Christmas means a cold Easter
À Pâques ou à la Trinité    very late, never

  In the French tradition, all the church bells fly to the Vatican on Maunday Thursday, leaving churches silent. They return on Easter with eggs and chocolates, and ring once again.

to bless   bénir
branch   un rameau
chick   un poussin
chocolate   le chocolat
church   une église
church bell   une cloche
Easter (adjective)   pascal*
Easter brioche   la gâche de Pâques
Easter egg hunt   la chasse aux œufs
Easter procession   un défilé pascal
egg   un œuf
fast day   un jour de jeûne
flying bell   une cloche volante
lamb   agneau (m)
meatless meal   un repas maigre
nest   un nid
Pope   le pape
pork   le porc
priest   prêtre
rabbit   un lapin
wing   une aile
woven palm leaves   palmes tressées

  Easter Monday is a public holiday and is traditionally celebrated with pâquette, where families eat omelettes together. In Bessières (Haute-Garonne), there’s an annual Easter festival featuring the preparation and consumption of a giant Easter omelette: l’omelette pascale et géante, which is 4 meters (13 feet) in diameter and contains 15,000 eggs. (This is unrelated to la Fête de l’omelette géante [3 meters] that takes place every September in Fréjus [Var].)

*Boys and girls born on or near Easter are often named Pascal and Pascale.

 Related features

French vocabulary for other holidays


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