Quelque chose qui cloche

shutterstock_26340932The French expression “quelque chose qui cloche” (literally: something is off) describes a situation that doesn’t quite add up. A cloche is also a bell, and Easter tradition has it that the church bells (“les cloches”) fly away to Rome and return at Pâques full of chocolate eggs which they hide in the gardens for children to collect.

When I first heard that story, I scoffed. Flying bells bringing Easter eggs? How far-fetched can you get?

But upon reflection, is it any more ridiculous than the idea of a bunny bringing Easter eggs? Or of Santa bringing presents to celebrate the birth of baby Jesus? While we’re at it, what have chocolate eggs got to do with the resurrection of Christ? Isn’t there “quelque chose qui cloche” in that whole story?

The fact is that the pagan festival of “Eostre” was conscripted by the Catholic church for its own purposes. Eggs, like rabbits, are fertility symbols.

Today, Easter is celebrated in France, as in many countries of Christian culture and tradition, primarily as a chocolate fest. Children hunt in the garden for chocolate bunnies and hens and eggs. People sit down for a traditional meal of roast leg of lamb. The whole thing coincides with the coming of spring and the rebirth of nature.

And it’s just as well that the bells are the hero of the story in France, where the Easter rabbit may just as well end up on the menu.

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