Today is Candlemas! VIDEO
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Candlemas (also spelled Candlemass), also known as the Feast of the Presentation of Jesus Christ, the Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary, or the Feast of the Holy Encounter, is a Christian holiday commemorating the presentation of Jesus at the Temple. It is based upon the account of the presentation of Jesus in Luke 2:22–40. In accordance with Leviticus 12, a woman was to be purified by presenting a lamb as a burnt offering, and either a young pigeon or dove as sin offering, 33 days after a boy's circumcision. It falls on 2 February, which is traditionally the 40th day (postpartum period) of and the conclusion of the Christmas–Epiphany season.
The English name, 'Candlemas, refers to the custom of blessing and distributing candles and carrying them in procession before the mass. The light of the candles is symbolic of Christ as the light of the world, to stick to tradition all the candles should be made of beeswax.
While it is customary for Christians in some countries to remove their Christmas decorations on Twelfth Night (Epiphany Eve), those in other Christian countries historically remove them after Candlemas. On Candlemas, many Christians (especially Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholics, Lutherans, Anglicans and Methodists) also take their candles to their local church, where they are blessed and then used for the rest of the year; these blessed candles serve as a symbol of Jesus Christ, who is the Light of the World.
The Feast of the Presentation is one of the oldest feasts of the Christian church, celebrated since the 4th century AD in Jerusalem. It is mentioned in the pilgrimage of Egeria (381–384), where she confirmed that the celebrations took place in honor of the presentation of Jesus at the Temple.
PREDICTING THE WEATHER
Candlemas is around the time that bears emerged from winter hibernation to inspect the weather as well as wolves, who if they chose to return to their lairs on this day was interpreted as meaning severe weather would continue for another forty days at least. In the United States and Canada, Candlemas evolved into Groundhog Day celebrated on the same date.
An ancient Scottish rhyme tells us:-
If Candlemas day be dry and fair,
The half o' winter to come and mair.
If Candlemas's day be wet and foul.
The half o' winter gane at Yule.
The Engish version is:-
If Candlemas Day be fair and bright
Winter will have another fight.
If Candlemas Day brings cloud and rain,
Winter will not come again.
Both rhymes mean that if it is nice on Candlemas Day you can expect six more weeks of yucky, winter weather, if it isn't nice on Candlemas Day, the weather should get nicer. A sort of Catch 22 situation.
LIFE AND DEATH
The eve of Candlemas was the day on which Christmas decorations and greenery were removed from people's homes and churches. The superstitious believed that If all traces of berries, holly and so forth weren't removed there would be a death among the congregation before the year was out. Nowadays any Christmas decorations not taken down by Twelfth Night (January 5th) should be left up until Candlemas Day and then taken down.
A rhyme called "Ceremony upon Candlemas Eve" by Robert Herrick (1591 - 1674) goes:-
"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."