Today is the last day of Christmas! I know it’s hard to believe but the season of Christmas lasts forty days and forty nights. Why is it called Candlemas Day or La Chandeleur in France? Traditionally in the liturgical calendar this is the day when Our Lord, Jesus, as the first new born male was presented in the temple which was a custom of the day. It is also known as the Purification of the Virgin Mary which later became known as “Churching,” where after six weeks of giving birth the mother left the house and went to the church to be blessed or “purified.” But what about the candles?
Today, people still go to church for a ceremony that includes the lighting of candles celebrating the light and fecundity of the earth. The candles are blessed and the faithful then bring them back to where they live in order to give protection to their homes. Interestingly the First of February in the Celtic calendar is IMBOLC, the first day of spring and the “Coming of the light.”
In France people celebrate “La fete des chandelles” by making crepes traditionally with the last flour of the winter and this was seen as a symbol of prosperity. Also, in France those who are a little superstitious would toss the crepes holding a coin in the hand and this would bring good fortune!
Bonne fete! Happy Candlemas Day!!