"The bells are ringing!" is a happy tiding on Easter Sunday for children across France. It signals that church bells have returned home after flying to Rome to be blessed by the pope. It is said that, on their way home, the bells deposit chocolate eggs in bird nests throughout parks and yards of France for children to find! This tradition is part of French Easter lore and offers children a playful explanation for the silence of the bells from Maundy Thursday to Easter morning. Actually, the practice of silencing church bells for this period was instituted by the church to signify mourning at the death of Christ until Easter Sunday when they ring once again in celebration of the resurrection.
La fête de Pâques (Easter) finds many families celebrating together with children hunting down hidden chocolate eggs, winged bells (so they can fly to and from Rome), fish, bunnies and chickens. All made out of chocolate, hidden singly or arranged in artificial birds nests or Easter baskets, they were likely purchased from a local confiserie or candy shop. Families often celebrate with a meal that includes lamb, eggs and a dessert, salad or vegetable that has been arranged in the shape of a nest. Joyeuse Pâques!!