Traditionally Candlemas is celebrated 40 days after the birth of Jesus. It was when the child was presented at the Temple; the redemption of the first born. In the church year, it marks the end of Epiphany and one of the twelve great feasts of the Eastern Orthodox Church. In the Catholic rosary, it is the 4th Joyful mystery and the fruit of the mystery is purity and obedience. This marks the other aspect of the Temple visit, that of the ‘ritual purification’ of Mary after childbirth.
The name Candlemas came from the tradition of the priest blessing candles for use throughout the year. The populace would bring along their collection of beeswax columns and they would be blessed, a medieval ‘let there be light’.
What is my Candlemas?
Ritual and minimalism are related companions for me. The more ritual I have the more I focus on what I have and need to do. The more ritual the more I appreciate what I have and I get less distracted by meaningless wants and desires. Of course, that’s the theory if not the practice… or ritual!
Candles were vital in a pre-gas or electrical world. They were a need for the people hence the blessing of them (along with the light and its symbolism).
- What do I need?
- What is vital to me?
- What do I need blessed?
Alternatively, as it is the 2nd February, you can celebrate Groundhog Day instead and predict the weather.