In French supermarkets, Easter bunnies are now found everywhere on the shelves, including the gold Lindt bunny with its famous red necklace. Have a closer look and you will find other items reflecting the French traditions of Easter: the hens, the fish, and… the bells!
Threatened by globalisation and the dominance of the anglo-saxon Easter Bunny, the Easter Bells are struggling to retain their place as the giver of chocolate eggs on Easter Sunday. This echoes a similar situation at Christmas time when Santa Claus has replaced Saint-Nicolas and Baby Jesus as the reason for presents.
To find out for sure, we went to the Easter section of a local hypermarché in the suburbs of Annecy. We had to investigate before accusing those cute little bunnies and to verify our theory. The poor little bells were so outnumbered by the huge number of competitors that it was quite hard to find them. Amidst the enormous quantity of chocolate in various forms, there were only three types of chocolate bells. The bunnies were the most prevalent, followed by hens and, for obvious reasons, many sorts of eggs of different sizes and chocolate: dark, milk and white.
Nevertheless, Easter bells have maintained a strong presence in local chocolateries and confiseries which are not as influenced by the usurper (the bunny of course!) As the Easter bells find their origins in Catholic traditions, it is no surprise to see them fighting for their position against the bunnies in traditional Catholic provinces such as in Savoie, Provence and Brittany.
On the map of France the story of Easter traditions is quite simple: most of the country traditionally believes that the bells are bringing the Easter eggs except in Alsace and in the Lorraine département of Moselle where the Easter bunny takes the lead (read our new page on the Easter traditions in Alsace)
Easter bunny vs Easter bell, who will win the fight? Who knows… The Lindt company has been quite diplomatic in France: alongside the Lapin d’Or they have created the Cloche d’Or. Impossible to find in Australia, this little counterpart of the Lindt bunny sticks to the French tradition of Easter. Well done!
(f) for féminin, (m) for masculin, (adj) for adjective and (v) for verbs
- bell = cloche (f)
- bunny = lapin (m)
- chocolate = chocolat (m)
- dark chocolate = chocolat noir (m)
- Easter = Pâques (f)
- egg = œuf (m)
- fish = poisson (m)
- hen = poule (f)
- hypermarket = hypermarché (m)
- milk chocolat = chocolat au lait (m)
- spring = printemps (m)
- Sunday = dimanche (m)
- supermarket = supermarché (m)
- tradition = tradition (f)
- white chocolate = chocolat blanc (m)
Find out more about the tradition of the Easter bells here.