Flying bells are a French Easter tradition

Here we are! A stupendous seasonal collection of 45 French sayings (dictons) about Easter.

I’ve noticed that a lot of people are coming to my site via queries about Easter sayings and traditions. So I thought I’d see how many I could find in order to satisfy my customers.

Old sayings are always fascinating. They’ve been carefully passed down from generation to generation. In the past these ‘dictons’ were very important. Without radio, TV or Internet, they were the best way to pass on information in an easily memorable form. They explained when to sew or harvest crops, for example, or what to expect weather-wise if Christmas was either very mild or very cold.

There are basically three sorts of dictons:

1.       Those based on the weather.

2.       Pure and simple superstitions or religious beliefs.

3.       Forecasts based on observations – such as animal behaviour, wind direction, and so on.


Some are universal, others regionally based, reflecting the local climate and customs.

So here we go. I’ve put them into the following categories: Palm Sunday, Holy Week, Good Friday, Easter Saturday, Easter Day, Easter generally – and last, but not least – Downright bizarre!

Palm Sunday

1.       Les pommes portées à l’église et bénites le dimanche des rameaux préservent du mal de gorge

Apples taken to church and blessed on Palm Sunday protect you from sore throats.

2.       Le temps qu’il fait le jour de la Sainte-Isabelle dure jusqu’aux Rameaux.

Whatever the weather is on St Isabelle’s day (22 Feb), itwill last till Palm Sunday.


3.       Vent des Rameaux – Ne change pas de sitôt.

If it’s windy on Palm Sunday, then that’s not going to change any time soon.


Holy Week

4.       Sainte semaine mouillée donne terre altérée.

A wet Holy Week will spoil the soil.


5.       Semaine sainte pluvieuse, année ruineuse.

A wet Holy Week means a bad year.


6.       La gelée de la semaine sainte n’est pas néfaste.

Frost during Holy Week isn’t disastrous.


Good Friday

7.       S’il neige le vendredi saint, les autres gelées sont avortées.

If it snows on Good Friday then there won’t be any more frosts.

8.       S’il pleut le vendredi saint, les autres gelées sont sans effet.

If it rains on Good Friday, then any frosts won’t do any harm.


9.       Le vendredi saint, s’il pleut, le boeuf rit et le cochon pleure.

If it rains on Good Friday, then the cow laughs and the pig cries.


10.   Au vendredi saint, semez le cerfeuil et les haricots.

Sew chervil and beans on Good Friday.


11.   S’il pleut le vendredi saint, toute la pluie de l’année ne servira à rien.

If it rains on Good Friday, then all the rain in the rest of the year won’t do any good.


Easter Saturday

12.   Si le vent souffle la veille de Pâques, il soufflera pendant 6 semaines.

If it’s windy on the day before Easter, then it will be windy for the next six weeks.


Easter Day

13.   Quand Mardi Gras est de vert vêtu, Pâques met des habits blancs.

When Mardi Gras is clothed in green, Easter will wear white clothes.


14.   Quand à Noël, on se chauffe au soleil, Le jour de Pâques, on se chauffe à la bûche de Noël.

If you warm yourself in the sun at Christmas then at Easter you’ll be warming yourself by burning the Christmas log. (i.e. If it’s warm at Christmas it will be cold at Easter.)


15.   Celui qui recueille de l’eau le matin de Pâques, avant le lever du soleil et dans le sens contraire du courant, est protégé l’année durant contre toutes les maladies externes et internes” Les vertus de l’eau de Pâques… meilleur marché que bien des prescriptions!!!

Whoever collects water on Easter morning before sunrise, going against the direction of the current, will be protected all year long from all illnesses and injuries. The marvellous qualities of Easter water are better than any medicine.


Easter generally

16.   Un oeuf de Pâques avec 2 jaunes assure chance et fortune à son propriétaire.

If a chicken lays an egg on Easter Day with 2 yolks then that will bring you good luck and wealth.


17.   Un oeuf béni à Pâques éloigne la maladie de son foyer.

An egg blessed at Easter will keep illness away from your household.


18.   Un oeuf de Pâques planté dans un vignoble protège la vigne du tonnerre et de la grêle.

An egg laid at Easter buried in a vineyard will protect the vines from thunder and hail.

19.   Pâques tôt, Pâques tard,

Un bon merle a ses petits à Pâques.

Whether Easter is early or late, a good blackbird lays its eggs at Easter.


20.   Si Pâques marsine, il y aura guerre ou famine.

If Easter falls in March, there will be war or famine.


21.   Les Pâques pluvieuses Sont souvent fromenteuses… Et souvent fort menteuses.

Rainy Easters mean that will be plenty of bread … but they can also be lying.


22.   Pâques pluvieuses, Mains pâteuses.

Rainy Easters means pastry-covered hands (i.e. lots of wheat to make pastry and bread etc).


23.   Noel au balcon, Pâques au tison

Spend Christmas outdoors, then you’ll spend Easter burning wood. (i.e. if Christmas is mild, Easter will be cold.)


24.   Noël grelottant, – Pâques éclatant.

Freezing Christmas, blazing Easter.


25.   A Noël les moucherons, A Pâques les glaçons.

Gnats (sciarids) at Christmas mean ice at Easter.

26.   Pâques haut ou bas – Toujours vignes à tailler.

_Whether Easter is high or low, there are still vines to prune. (i.e. However you celebrate Easter, there is still work to do.)



27.   S’il y avait deux Pâques – Et deux vendanges, – Il n’y aurait plus ni famine – Ni pauvreté.

If only there were two Easters and two harvests, there would be no hunger or poverty.


28.   Si février est chaud, – Croyez bien, sans défaut, – Que par cette aventure, – Pâques aura sa froidure.

If February is warm, then know this for sure – Easter will have its cold weather instead.



29.   Pâques doux, épi vide.

A mild Easter will mean empty ears of corn.


30.   Pluie à Pâques, emplit les coffres.

Rain at Easter fills the coffers.


31.   Pluie à Pâques, temps béni.

Rain at Easter, blessed times.


32.   Petits Pâques marine, c’est la peste ou la famine.

A very wet Easter, means disease or famine.


33.   Pâques tard, hiver tard.

Late Easter, late winter.


34.   Carnaval au soleil, Pâques au feu.

A sunny Shrove Tuesday (Mardi Gras) means a hot Easter.


35.   Noël blanc, Pâques vertes.

White Christmas, green Easter.


36.   Noël vert, Pâques blanches.

Green Christmas, white Easter.


37.   Quand on mange le gâteau au chaud (gâteau de Noël), On mange les oeufs derrière le fourneau (oeufs de Pâques).

When you eat Christmas cake in the warmth, then you’ll eat your Easter Eggs next to the stove.


38.   Quand il pleut le jour de Pâques, il pleut pendant quarante jours.

If it rains on Easter day, then it will rain for the next forty days.


39.   Pâques pluvieux, Saint-Jean farineux.

A rainy Easter means that St John’s Day (24 June) will be floury (i.e. plenty of wheat will grow).


40.   Pâques de longtemps désirées, Sont en un jour tôt passées.

A long awaited Easter day passes very quickly.


Downright bizarre!

41.   Quand on a Pâques en mars, C’est les filles qui vont aux gars.

Quand on a Pâques en avril, C’est les gars qui vont aux filles.

When Easter is in March, the girls chase the boys. When Easter is in April, boys chase the girls!

42.   Pâques en mars, Tombes de toutes parts.

Easter in March means tombs everywhere.


43.   Pâques en avril, Mort à femmes et à brebis.

Easter in April, death to women and ewes.



44.   Pâques d’avril, Vaut fumier ou purin de brebis.

Easter in April brings ewe manure or slurry.


45.       Pâques vieilles ou non vieilles,

Ne viennent jamais sans feuilles.

Whether old or new, Easter never comes without leaves. (OK, this one I don’t get at all!)