Set between Epiphany and Lent, on February 2, there’s a holiday that’s easy to overlook. It’s the Feast of the Presentation of Our Lord Jesus and the Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary, but it’s also known as Candlemas, a Christian holiday adopted from a pagan one, marking the halfway point between the shortest day of the year and the beginning of spring, when traditionally candles were brought into churches to be blessed.
Candlemas is all about light. We’re starting to see more light here in the northern hemisphere as the days get longer. We’re reminded, too, that Christ is the light of the world. This is a holiday worth celebrating! Here’s what you might do:
- Make it a fun family celebration. In France, the tradition is that each family member prepares and cooks a crêpe while holding a coin in their hand, bringing wealth and happiness until the next Candlemas celebration. So why not make a family celebration of cooking and eating crêpes together?
- Decorate your home. Gather all your candles in one room and light them from one central candle. Or place a candle in each window (but watch them carefully!). Say a prayer of thanksgiving for the light, or you might choose this Candlemas prayer.
- Celebrate all things new. Candlemas is a time of new beginnings. If you didn’t make New Year’s resolutions for change, this is a good time to make them instead. Try and find a resolution that will help you re-set your connection with God.
Whatever you choose to do, this holiday is a reminder to look to the light. We have been in darkness for a long time, and the promise of light—daylight, and the light of the love of Christ—is something to celebrate!