Candlemas around the world

Many traditions surround the recently celebrated feast of Candlemas on February 2.

In the United Kingdom, good weather at Candlemas is taken to indicate severe winter weather later. (And this is the traditional day for Christmas evergreen decorations to be removed from Buckingham Palace.

In the United States, Candlemas coincides with Groundhog Day and may have come from a German-American Candlemas tradition, this year indicated an early Spring.

In France and Belgium, Candlemas is celebrated with crêpes.

In Italy, traditionally, it is considered the last cold day of winter.

Tenerife (Spain), Is the day of the Virgin of Candelaria 

In Southern and Central Mexico, and Guatemala City, Candlemas is celebrated with tamales. Tradition indicates that on January 5, the night before the Epiphany, whoever gets one or more of the few plastic or metal dolls buried within the Rosca de Reyes must pay for the tamales and throw a party on Candlemas. In certain regions of Mexico, this is the day in which the baby Jesus of each household is taken up from the nativity scene and dressed up in various colorful, whimsical outfits.

Rosi Viquez from Church of the Holy Spirit describes the celebration the Mexican community held at her parish on February 2 this year:  “We had a volunteer that decorated the cubicle! Over 100 parishioners brought their Baby Jesus for our initial procession and then final blessing.  Our new Baby Jesus* had a “Madrina” (sponsor) who made his little outfit and laid him down in the basket.  Darkness in the background was broken by stars, candles, and Jesus who is our Light! It was a beautiful celebration.  Most touching was the community in veneration and seeing people go up to the baby to kiss his feet. They took family photos with our Baby Jesus.  Afterward, we had the traditional celebration of the Candelaria with tamales and atole. It was a faith-filled and community- building experience!  Thank you so much for the lovely gift.  He is being taken good care of! *

The infant statue Rosi speaks of here was donated to the parish by Sr. Cathy Fedewa’s community.

Sister Cathy Fedewa


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