The Presentation of the Lord “Candlemas”

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candelariaThis custom has its origins in the celebration of the purification and presentation of baby Jesus at the temple, and on the Feb. 2nd every year we remember it. We also remember the day Simon, took candles (candles made of kerosene) to bless which symbolized Jesus as the light of the world, this is where we get ‘Candlemas’ or the Presentation of the Lord.  During mass the different color candles are blessed, each color for a different purpose and religious character. In Mexico like other countries, it’s custom that whoever gets the dolls from the ‘rosca de reyes’ (bread from the 3 kings day served on Jan. 6th) are the ones who should present baby Jesus to the temple on the day of Candlemas.  They are to dress him up with clothes and new decorations and then at mass is where the baby Jesus and the candles are blessed representing the light of Jesus in the homes. The blessed candles are to be lit every time difficulties come up throughout the year.
This celebration ends with a gathering of family and friends, where the godparents serve tamales, different flavored atole (a hot Mexican drink) and hot chocolate. In these festivities we should reflect on the Virgin Mary’s obedience, to be thankful to God for the light of our savior.  Feb. 2nd marks the end of the holiday celebrations that begin on the Dec. 8th and end with the celebration of Mary’s purification. Thus we must remember that in order to obey the law Mary went, accompanied by her husband, to the doors of the Jerusalem temple 40 days after the birth of Jesus, her firstborn son, a ritual of purification.  Since they were poor they took two white doves. When they entered the temple, the elder Simon, moved by the Holy Spirit took Jesus in his arms and blessed him, then said He (Jesus) would be the light that would illuminate the Gentiles. Then he told Mary, a sword will pierce your soul, prophesizing the suffering that she’d face. This is what the celebration of the Candlemas holds.

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