“When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)
With Candle-mas service and celebration all over the world, the end of the Christmas season has been officially marked. Candlemas (or Candlemass) is known as the Feast of the Presentation of Our Lord Jesus and the Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary, commemorating the presentation of Jesus at the Temple as based on the Jewish custom. It falls on February 2, which is traditionally the 40th day of the Christmas–Epiphany season. For those who of us who haven’t removed the Christmas decorations on Twelfth Night (Epiphany Eve), Candlemas is the day when one can take them down.
In pre-Christian times, this day was known as the ‘Feast of Lights’ and celebrated the increase strength of the life-giving sun as winter gave way to spring. Later during the Christian era, this date marked the presentation of Christ to the temple. It was the day of the year when all the candles, that were used in the church during the coming year, were brought and blessed; thereby marking it as the Festival Day (or ‘mass’) of the Candles. In those days, candles were important not only because there was no electric lights; but were thought to be of protection against plague and illness and famine. As the years progressed; on Candlemas, the service is led by prayers and the candles used are blessed; serving as a symbol of Christ, who referred to himself as the Light of the World.
Falling almost in the middle of Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox, Candlemas is considered to be time for fresh start. Each country has their own set of customs, celebrations and service. One can decide to honour this day by the beginning of doing something new, breaking an old habit, spending quality time and care for dear ones or devoting energy, time and steps for self-improvement.
For This is a simple way to make life a little better for one and for those touching our life in one aspect or other.
When New Year’s Day is past and gone;
Christmas is with some people done;
But further some will it extend,
And at Twelfth Day their Christmas end.
Some people stretch it further yet,
At Candlemas they finish it.
The gentry carry it further still
And finish it just when they will;
They drink good wine and eat good cheer
And keep their Christmas all the year.
– From Colonial Williamsburg, 18th century