Candle- what? Candlemas! Have you heard this holiday spoken about but never really understood what it is? Let’s fix that right now! There are two answers that mostly depend upon which way you want to look at it. First is the Christian viewpoint, then there is the more ancient viewpoint of how the day was celebrated before Christianity came about.
We’re going to take a look at both views so that you can understand it all and then find a way to make Candlemas a part of your yearly celebrations. Ready? Let’s getting cracking and find out more!
History of Candlemas
Near the end of the winter season, as ancient people looked forward to the planting season of spring, many different cultures found ways to celebrate this shift from the cold and dark days to a happier and more productive time of year. Ancient Celts took this time of year to honor the Goddess Brigid. Brigid was the Goddess of purification and fertility. They would honor her by processing from the village across the fields while praying for the health of their soil before planting. The Romans associated their festival to the God Lupercus. This was their God of fertility and shepherds, again playing into the desire to shake off winter’s bindings and bring fertility and light to the planting time.
When Christianity was moving through the world, they too decided to place a festival of light around this time of year. Candlemas in the Christian tradition is better known by two different names – The Feast of the Presentation of our Lord Jesus and The Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is a tradition for the churches to bring forward all of the candles to be used for the rest of the year for a special blessing.
How to celebrate Candlemas
How can you jump into the Candlemas festivities? One way to do this is to follow the awesome tradition of packing up all of those great decorations that you spent so much time planning and setting up! And don’t forget to look under the couch or wherever your pet likes to horde all of the little things that go missing in your house – trust me you might even find some socks! Don’t feel like parading down the streets to pray over the fields? How about bringing the proverbial light to your home by taking all your candles into a church to be blessed? Many still do this today thinking that this blessing will bring prosperity to the home as the candles burn. More blessings can’t hurt right?!
Feeling a little more adventurous? How about a leisurely jog with a pack of stampeding bulls? In Mexico, during a week-long religious festival, this is exactly what they do. Not quite your cup of tea? Try eating some crepes or tamales as is traditional in many countries across the world. Perhaps while munching on those treats, you might try writing down some goals for the upcoming year. This is a symbolic act of “planting” as you are making the beginning act of “growing” the outcome.