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Candlemas: What is it?

What is Candlemas? Candlemas is also known as the Feast of the Presentation of Our Lord at the Temple. It is also the Feast of the Purification of Mary. It is also, technically, the last day that we celebrate Christmas as Catholics because it is the last feast of the infant Child Jesus.

The Feast of the Presentation of Our Lord is the day that we observe and celebrate Mary and Joseph presenting Jesus to the temple in Jerusalem, bringing with them the offering of the poor, two doves. Here, the Holy Family is greeted by the prophet Simeon, exclaiming:

‌"Lord, now you let your servant go in peace;
your word has been fulfilled:
my own eyes have seen the salvation
which you have prepared in the sight of every people:
a light to reveal you to the nations
and the glory of your people Israel."

Candlemas hints at Simeon’s words of “a light to real you to the nations”.

This is also the first of Our Lady’s Seven Sorrow’s. 

Candlemas also commemorates the Feast of Purification of Mary. According to Jewish law, women who experienced childbirth had to wait 40 days until she could return to the temple for worship. While this purification time is not necessary for Catholics to wait for purification, this beautiful feast is a great reminder of the necessity of rest and bonding time for both mother and child after birth.

‌Here’s how you can celebrate!

1. Put away any last Christmas decoration stragglers. Lent is right around the corner, anyways!
2. Take your candles to be blessed by your priest. The church prefers that you use at least 50% or more beeswax based tapers. The beeswax representing the pure flesh of Christ from the Blessed Virgin, the wick his soul, and the flame his divinity. Check out our friends at Mother & Home’s gorgeous collection of beeswax candles

3. Use the blessed candles at the dinner table to create a sense of holiness and sanctity of eating together as a family
4.  Bring a meal to a mother and new baby. What a gift a meal is, providing respite and rest.