Lord, now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace, according to Thy Word: For mine eyes have seen Thy salvation, which Thou hast prepared before the face of all people; a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of Thy people Israel. – Luke 2:29-32
I love candles, so a day on the church calendar dedicated to the blessing of candles and the celebration of Light holds a special place in my liturgical heart.
Before there was Groundhog Day, there was (and still is) Candlemas, also known as The Presentation of Jesus (when Simeon and Anna meet Jesus in the temple, Luke 2:22-40).
On the church calendar, February 2nd is 40 days after Jesus’ birth, at which time, according to the Law of Moses, a first-born son would be consecrated to God.
The final day of Epiphanytide, February 2nd is also the half-way point between the Winter Solstice and the beginning of Spring.
The day receives it name because all the candles to be used in worship for the next 12 months were gathered at the church and blessed, a tradition dating back to the 11th century. This practice is still observed at St James Cathedral, Seattle, and many churches around the world.
Traditionally, candles are lit in the windows of homes on Candlemas evening; in France, people celebrate La Chandeleur by eating crepes by candlelight; and in Mexico, Dia de la Candaleria, is celebrated with tamales and hot chocolate. Yum!
The Blessings of the Light of the World be with you today and always!