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Sunday, January 31, 2010
The Feast of the Presentation of Our Lord in the Temple, or Candlemas, is this week, February 2nd.
It is one of the twelve Great Feasts of the Eastern Orthodox church and a Principal Feast day in the Anglican church.
The feast is a remembrance of the event recorded in Luke 2:22-40 when, after having completed the required ritual cleansing and seclusion from public worship, Mary and Joseph brought Jesus to the Temple to make their offerings.
The tradition of calling the day "Candlemas" comes from a practice of blessing candles to be used in the church for the year. A further tradition of bringing candles to be used in the home for blessing developed, and I think is a lovely custom. It is a very ancient feast - with evidence of its celebration back to the 300s.
Interestingly, Candlemas in the UK shares a custom with Groundhog Day in the US (and is the basis for our Groundhog Day tradition):
If Candlemas Day be fair and bright,
Winter shall have another flight.
But if it be dark with clouds and rain,
Winter is gone not to come again.
- Old English verse
Foods and Meals
crepes are eaten after 8pm (and if the cook can flip them while holding a coin in the other hand, the family is assured prosperity in the coming year). Don't want to make them? Check your grocery story, they might carry them at the bakery or frozen section. Tamales are another traditional food in Mexico. (Maybe because they look somewhat like candles?) Perhaps tortilla wrap sandwiches might be fun, too.
:-: Of course, it would be lovely to eat by candlelight.
:-: Try your hand and fancy napkin folding (to look like candles)!
Crafts and Activities
:-: Consider making beeswax candles, or or these candles or crayon candles, to be used in the home or on the family altar. Or purchase some fresh candles for the coming year (to be used on special days, or at the family altar or during family prayer time.)
:-: Let each family member carry a candle (lit if your children are old enough) on a procession through the house.
:-: This idea for making rolled coins into a candle craft is cute and easy. A fun way to let the kids give money to a charity or in the offering plate.