One of the aspects of scolarising our children in a Catholic school in France is that we get to know the liturgical calendar pretty well. Its not all confessions and penances though! Yesterday was Mi-Carême, translated as mid Lent, and whilst our family have not managed to give up chocolate, wine or cheese, or anything else fervently valued by the French, we couldn’t fail to fall into the party spirit of the Mi-Carême.
Mi-Carême conveniently falls just after the ‘Vacances de Hiver’ otherwise known as the February half term in the UK. After the two weeks of skiing enjoyed by a large majority; one might almost think that skiing was compulsory judging by the number of tanned faces arriving back in school this week; everyone gets down to a frenzy of costume making. Fancy dress is not restricted to the children, all the staff and surveillants (student playground supervisors), and even the Directrices (headmistresses) enter into the spirit with fabulous disguises.
I was awoken by a Viking swathing through my bedroom pillaging for breakfast. When I finally made it to the table I was surprised to find a diminutive popstar complete with green wig, and a lone musketeer. When Alice in Wonderland arrived at the table I thought it was probably all a bad dream, and was just about to go back to bed, when the rabbit took out it’s pocket watch and announced it was time for school.
And so we departed, opening the door to a sparking morning with clear deep blue skies and the highest temperature according to the Meteo for this year.
Rumour has it that the Directrice has Carambar sweets attached all over her costume. Unsurprisingly she is very popular! But i’m not sure the pink capped ‘surveillants’ have much affect on crowd control!
Crepes are a firm part of the tradition for Mi-Carême. I heard that the Musketeer ate seven.
What a great spirit – and all in all a lovely day.
Don’t seem to have that tradition here, which is a shame. But we have St Patrick’s Day to celebrate in this household, so we get to have a bit of a knees-up!
I’m not sure whether the ècoles publiques would follow the tradition or not – certainly there were a lot of surprised car drivers at the Zebra crossing near school which makes me imagine that the majority of kids in Rouen weren’t dressing up – it would be interesting to know. Our school takes it all very seriously with ‘talon reponses’ going out the week before to parents handy with a crèpe pan. Some of the costumes were amazing, including some fabulous masks from Venice. I have yet to rifle through my kids photos!
What a lovely day, such fun for all. As my grandson is several departments north, I don’t have much to do with these sort of events. I will ask if they have this celebration at his school.
I didn’t know about this one! Ah the French, any excuse to dress up and eat. Great pictures!
I know – and especially crèpes!