Feast of the Presentation of the Lord

Annually on the second of February, the Catholic Church celebrates the day when Mary and Joseph presented the Child Jesus at the temple – the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord.

The act of Mary and Joseph’s presentation of the Child Jesus at the temple is by the Law of Moses. The law says that after a mother gave birth to a child, she would undergo 40 days of purification. During this time, “she shall not touch anything that is consecrated nor enter the Sanctuary until the days of her purification are completed.” (Leviticus 12:4) After purification, the presentation of the child at the temple would be done. This is the reason why the feast falls on February 2 and is also referred to as “Purification of Mary”. And with the feast related to that of the Solemnity of Christmas, many Catholics observe the practice of keeping the Christmas decors until this feast.

Coincidentally, the date also falls between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. In the middle ages, farmers associated weather predictions with the celebration of the feast. Tradition indicates that if the sun would shine on the day of the feast, winter would be extended; and if it would be cloudy or rainy on that day, then they would be expecting for the spring to come.

Eastern Church first observed the feast and in the 6th century, Rome began observing it in the West with solemn blessings and procession of candles in the liturgy making the feast popularly known as “Candlemas.” On celebrating the liturgy, families observe the tradition of bringing candles to be blessed – these candles, in turn, are being used in Catholic homes’ altars during the year.

 

REFERENCES:

Feast of the Presentation of the Lord https://www.catholicculture.org/culture/liturgicalyear/calendar/day.cfm?date=2020-02-02

Liturgical Notes for the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord https://www.bostoncatholic.org/sites/g/files/zjfyce811/files/2020-01/Feast%20of%20the%20Presentation%20on%20a%20Sunday%20of%20OT.pdf

February 2nd: Groundhog Day or Candlemas? https://buildfaith.org/candlemas-groundhog-day/

Candlemas: History, Traditions… and Crepes! https://buildfaith.org/candlemas/

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