I know everybody is going on and on about groundhogs, but I think Candlemas is a much more beautiful and meaningful holiday.
Candlemas occurs 40 days after Christmas. Candlemas is the most ancient of all the festivals honoring Mary.
The Presentation of Jesus at the Temple is the ceremony described in the Gospel of Luke, combining the purification rite with the redemption of the firstborn:
22 And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord;
23 (As it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord;)
24 And to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.
25 And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him.
26 And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.
27 And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law,
28 Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said,
29 Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word:
30 For mine eyes have seen thy salvation,
31 Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people;
32 A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.
33 And Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him.
34 And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against;
35 (Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.
36 And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity;
37 And she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day.
38 And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem.
I love the Nunc Dimittis. There are lovely works of art and music by Bach commemorating this time.
The earliest reference to specific liturgical rites surrounding the feast are by the nun Egeria, during her pilgrimage to the Holy Land (381–384).
The Emperor Justinian I, after a terrible plague, ordered a period of fasting and prayer throughout the entire Empire in 541 and thanksgiving in 542.
In Rome, the feast appears in the Gelasian Sacramentary, a manuscript collection of the seventh and eighth centuries associated with Pope Gelasius I.
The tenth-century Benedictional of St. Æthelwold, bishop of Winchester, has a formula used for blessing the candles.
It was the traditional day to remove the cattle from the hay meadows, and from the field that was to be ploughed and sown that spring.
References to it are common in later medieval and early Modern literature; Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night is recorded as having its first performance on Candlemas Day 1602.
It was one of the Scottish quarter days, at which debts were paid and law courts were in session, until a change in the law in 1991.
In Irish homes, there are many rituals revolving around welcoming St. Brigid into the home on Imbolc with candles, wheat, and milk. She was seen by Celtic Christians as the midwife of Christ and “Mary of the Gael.” In Ireland and Scotland, Brigid is the “foster mother of Jesus.”
In Poland, the feast is called Święto Matki Bożej Gromnicznej (Feast of Our Lady of Thunder). This name refers to the candles that are blessed on this day, called gromnice, since these candles are lit during thunderstorms and placed in windows to ward off storm damage.
The Western term Candlemas refers to the practice where a priest blesses candles for use throughout the year.
Some Christians observe the practice of leaving Christmas decorations up until Candlemas.
“If Candlemas Day is clear and bright,
winter will have another bite.
If Candlemas Day brings cloud and rain,
winter is gone and will not come again.”
“Down with the rosemary, and so
Down with the bays and mistletoe;
Down with the holly, ivy, all,
Wherewith ye dress’d the Christmas Hall”
~Robert Herrick (1591–1674), Ceremony upon Candlemas Eve
Moch maduinn Bhride, Thig an nimhir as an toll; Cha bhoin mise ris an nimhir, Cha bhoin an nimhir rium.
(Early on Bride’s morn, the serpent will come from the hollow I will not molest the serpent, nor will the serpent molest me)
Thig an nathair as an toll, la donn Bride Ged robh tri traighean dh’ an t-sneachd air leachd an lair.
(The serpent will come from the hollow on the brown day of Bridget Though there should be three feet of snow on the flat surface of the ground)
- Eat crêpes! Crêpes or pancakes, with their round shape and golden color reminiscent of the solar disc, refer to the return of Spring after the dark and cold of Winter.
- Read books
- Take down Christmas decorations
- Look at weather predictions
- Make candle holders
- PB Grace
- Catholic Icing
- Catholic Inspired
- JoyFilled Family
- Sun Hats and Wellie Boots
- Badger/Groundhog Candlemas weather folklore history from Yesteryear News