Easter in France
Easter, or Pâques in French, is an important time in France to be with family. Whether or not one celebrates, the public holiday allows many across the country to gather together. Unfortunately, this year many families will have to celebrate virtually as France is currently in lockdown.
The French word for Easter – Pâques – is an interesting one as it does not only refer to the festival of Easter! When it has an ‘s’ the word designates the Christian festival but without – la Pâque – it denotes the Jewish festival of Passover, or Pessa’h, which is usually celebrated around the same time. In fact, the word is both a masculine singular and feminine plural noun. One wishes "Joyeuses Pâques" but would say "Pâques est célébré entre 22 mars et le 25 avril". Just another marvelous quirk of the French language!
Like in Australia, Easter is a long weekend. However, only Easter Monday is a public holiday; Good Friday is not a day off for most of France. The exception is the départements of Alsace and Moselle. This is due to the fact that these regions were formally part of the German Empire which celebrated Good Friday a public holiday; when the territories were returned to France in 1918, they decided to maintain the local observance.