Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Candlemas: St Mary's Feast of the Candles

The 2nd of February is officially the Feast of Purification and the presentation of Christ in the Temple.
Forty day s after Jesus's birth Mary ritually cleansed herself and presented her child in the Temple at Jerusalem. During this visit she met Simeon who prophesied that Jesus would  be a light to lighten the Gentiles. So it is tradition on this day that lights and candles are blessed in church and candlelit services and processions are held.

Candlemas Day, plant beans in the day

Put candles and candlesticks away.
If Candlemas Day bring snow and rain
Winter is gone and won't come again
If Candlemas Day be clear and bright
Winter will have another flight

This ancient festival also marks the midway point of winter, halfway between the shortest day and the spring equinox.

Apart from the weather superstitions a few more abound around Candlemas; anybody who hears funeral bells on Candlemas will soon hear of a death of a  close friend or relative; each bell that tolls represent  a day that will pass before the unfortunate news is heard.
Sailors who are always very superstitious are reluctant to set sail on this day as they believe that any voyage begun today will end in disaster.

The Snowdrop in purest white arraie
First rears her head on Candlemas daie
circa 1500

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