Word of the Week: ‘une cloche’

Joyeuses Pâques à tous! 🔔 Happy Easter everyone!! 🐰

As it’s lundi de Pâques (Easter Monday) today, I thought it would be nice to have an Easter-related word this week 🙂 

In English-speaking countries, the Easter bunny (or le lapin de Pâques, if you will) is in charge of making sure all of the chocolate eggs are safely delivered on the Easter weekend. But in French-speaking countries, the eggs are brought by les cloches 🔔 

Word of the Week:

Une cloche. 

How to pronounce it:

Klosh.  

What it means in English:

A bell. 

 
Where does it come from?
‘Cloche’ comes from the Late Latin ‘clocca’, which itself came from the Gaulish word ‘clocca’, taken from ‘clogh’ in Cornish and ‘clog’ in Irish Gaelic.  

The word ‘cloche’ became part of the French language after first being used by Irish missionaries, replacing the Christian Latin words ‘signum’ and ‘campana’. 

The reason behind the tradition of bells being used to bring chocolate on Easter Sunday is because, from Maundy Thursday (the day before Good Friday), all of the church bells would normally fall silent for three days as a symbolic representation of the three day time-frame between Jesus’s death and his resurrection.

An explanation to children for the absence of bells ringing during these times was that the bells had apparently gone to Rome to be blessed by the Pope. 

The bells would then return from Rome on the eve of Easter Sunday, filled with chocolates that they would then scatter into gardens across France and Belgium ready for Easter Sunday morning. 


How to use it in a sentence:

‘Les cloches de Pâques arrivent chaque année, chargées de chocolat, qu’elles déversent dans les jardins partout en France et dans les pays francophones.’ 

English translation:

‘The “Easter bells” come every year, filled with chocolate, that spills out into gardens across France and French-speaking countries.’

Similar words:

Le lapin de Pâques = Easter bunny

Œuf de Pâques = Easter egg 

Dimanche de Pâques = Easter Sunday

Vacances de Pâques = Easter holidays. 


How about you – what are your favourite French words? 

And if you’re interested in reading more Words of the Week, check out more language posts here

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