When we first started exploring the liturgical year of the Christian church, one of my favorite things to learn about were the old holidays that you just dont hear about any more, with lovely lyrical names straight out of a Jane Austen novel. One of these lovely old holidays is today--- Candlemas!
Candlemas-- "candlemus"-- in your best old English accent--- celebrates the presentation of the baby Jesus at the temple and the purification of the Virgin Mary. As the story goes, St. Simeon and Anna recognize the infant as the longed for Messiah, the 'light of the world' in human form.
Old tradition holds that this day is the day people would bring their candles to the church to be blessed by their priest. The candles, so special and blessed, were supposed to be able to ward of any ghosts or goblins which might be roaming the hillsides, and keep the little cottages safe and under God's protection.
There is no better sign of safety and warmth than a candle in the window, is there not? And in this time, as winter wanes but spring is not yet here, Candlemas ushers in the promise of Lent and later, Easter.
If you've got little ones who you'd like to explore this old Holy Day with, a fun activity that is easy to do is create your own candles! This year I've partnered with the Anglican living blog The Homely Hours to offer this fun printable of The Blessed Mother presenting Jesus to Simeon, framed with snowdrops.
The coloring page is available FREE to download HERE and you can print it out on sticker paper to adhere to a plain votive (which you can usually find at your local grocery store or dollar store) or if you'd rather, modge podge the finished image to the votive glass!
Artist Bley Hack from Esther Bley has also offered up a beautiful ready-to-use Candlemas image that is so lovely and will look pretty displayed all year long. I just fell in love with her design!
If you'd like more information on Anglican Candlemas, The Homely Hours has this great post.
For Candlemas information within other traditions you can visit Carrots for Michaelmas for a Roman Catholic perspective and The Greek Orthodox Diocese of America for the Orthodox Christian perspective.
All in all, its a lovely little day that I hope you enjoy as much as I do!~